I hope you had a good weekend. Friday night was great for me, I got to work (I sell Pampered Chef products now) and I got to make money and visit with friends! It was a lot of fun and a break from the kids.
Saturday I was tired but it was a nice day of down time and relaxation. We rested, got a few chores down, had a delicious breakfast of pancakes made from whole grain buckwheat, and got gas. Our big treat for the weekend was dinner at Arby's. We had 3 buy one get one free coupons for sandwiches thus making it more affordable on our meager budget. Steven used one, Peter used one, and I used one. I'm sure the manager was less than happy with us, but hey- we weren't breaking the law. There were three separate customers for the transactions. And, we were better able to afford a dinner away from home for our rather large family of 7. It was nice. Everyone loved the Arby's curly fries. We had to go back and buy another order during dinner to satisfy everyone's desire for french fries. Ethan and Aeron stuck to the fries; they didn't care for the sandwiches. Their loss! They got cold cereal when they got home. Silly boys!
Today, however, was not so great! Peter this morning had to attend to his responsibilities as Stake Sunday School President. He had to attend a ward conference at 9 AM this morning and then had to attend another meeting at 1 PM. He came home in between sessions to help me get the kids ready for church.
It was all ok until our church started at 1 PM. That time is not ideal for our children, most especially for Ethan. We had our Sacrament meeting first. I didn't even make it 20 minutes in the chapel before I had to take the 2 youngest children out.
Then, Ethan had a VIOLENT outburst and I left church in tears! It was time to go to the children's Bible study class during the 2nd hour. With much protestation, I got him in there. I asked him if he would be good, if he would listen, if he would be nice to his teacher. He said yes. I told him if he was good, I would give him chocolates when we got home. And, he could "play" with our chickens (really he just tortures them, but in a non-harmful way). But once I turned around to leave and deal with a tantruming Aeron, Ethan got violent. He was knocking over chairs and tables, screaming, and I assume trying to hit the 2 other children in the class.
I got angry! I don't often get mad, but I was angry. This type of violent outburst is absolutely not appropriate! I went in the room, got down on his level, grabbed a hold of him and told him what was what. I didn't hurt him, but I told him he was very naughty. I don't care who saw me, what they thought, how good or bad a mother they thought I am, but I wanted him to stop it. Of course, he couldn't stop. When he gets going like that, he has to wind down a bit and it can take a while.
All the while I was in the room dealing with Ethan, Aeron was screaming and fighting to be freed, writhing in anger; he was screaming like a banshee. It was a shocking scene. It was horrific. People around me wanted to help, but there wasn't much they could do. Most people are afraid of hurting him, as if I would be upset with their offer of assistance. I wouldn't; sometimes Ethan HAS to be manhandled. We do it here at home. We aren't violent with him, but we have to be firm and sometimes we even have to restrain him.
So, I grabbed Ethan; if I had to, I was willing to drag him to the car. I got a hold of Aeron who immediately calmed down. I had a paper I needed to hand to our Primary President. I dispatched that duty with the help of a friend Amy Frandsen. And then I had to go back for Ethan. While holding on to Aeron, searching for paper, Ethan ran off. Thankfully, Brother O'Neal England was watching him; trying to corral him. Evidently, Ethan decided to stomp on his foot. Oh my gosh! So, Brother England picked him up and tried to calm him down. He was SO sweet. He was talking to him very calmly. He was trying to help. I was so grateful for his presence. I just wanted to beat him (something I have never done and did not do- though I was sorely temped!). Brother England said that he thought Ethan needed a hug. All the while, Brother England was talking to Ethan, Ethan was hitting him, struggling to get away. So, Brother England hugged him and then Ethan immediately hit him again. I thanked him for help and apologized for Ethan's crappy behavior. I got a hold of Ethan after Brother England put him down and walked past the shocked onlookers in the hallway. I know they felt bad for me. They just felt powerless to help and didn't know HOW to help.
As I walked past them, they asked if I was all right. I wasn't all right. I started to break down, but I just kept walking down the hallway with tears streaming down my face. I got to the car, strapped the kids in and hit the road with the intention of going home. I had hoped I would find Peter at home. Peter was still in his meeting. Once home, I got a drink and a chocolate candy, this time for myself. I figured I had earned it. And, I got back in the car and headed back up to the church hoping to find Peter back at the church. He wasn't there. But, by the time I found a parking spot in the parking lot, Ethan had passed out and was asleep! Glory be!
So, I left Ethan asleep in the car, and took Aeron by hand and took him to the Nursery. This time, he willingly went in. Very quickly, he settled in and found a toy to play with. I left and headed back to the car to carry the sleeping Ethan to Relief Society. That's the meeting we have the third hour. I carefully set him on 2 chairs and sat down to enjoy the meeting.
I didn't get to sit very long, because when Peter arrived we had been requested to go in and speak with the Bishop. Once in there, he discussed some concerns he had about Ethan and I started crying again.
Ethan has been having more of these violent outbursts lately. Twice on the bus, Friday he had one at school and the teacher had to restrain him. Ethan we hitting her, struggling to get free, and blowing his nose on her. Yuck! He's done that to me before when we had to go to the doctor. He had a full on tantrum in the doctor's office the WHOLE time I was there. I couldn't even stop to make an appointment. I dragged him out the door and downstairs to the car, where I went home with my tail between my legs. These episodes are extremely frustrating and extremely embarrassing. Often people look at him with horror. I have seen judgemental looks on the faces of some onlookers. I have also seen looks of compassion and understanding. Those kind souls help buoy me up and help me endure the Ethan's madness.
It's all very overwhelming and difficult to deal with my son. I am tired and I often feel beaten down with the cares of life. It's not as if he is the only child I have to deal with. There are 4 other children who need my attention and affection. We are struggling financially, but I cannot even think of going to work. With Ethan's volatility and unpredictability, who in their right mind would be willing to babysit him? And, it would be tremendously expensive.
Ethan needs state services. He should qualify for disability. I need some help here at home and at school for him. He has progressively gotten worse during the last few months. And, I feel powerless to help him. I'm doing everything I can. And, sometimes I am just hanging on by my finger nails. There are times, I would LOVE to just drop him off somewhere and leave him there. But, I wouldn't; I couldn't. It does sound tempting, though, especially when he's in the middle of one of his outbursts.
So, with ALL that being said, as we were speaking to the Bishop, I just starting crying. Peter was looking at me with concern. The Bishop was certainly uncomfortable. I know he felt bad. But, with the floodgates released, I cried. We spoke at length about Ethan, about our homelife, about his schooling.
I just feel very hopeless about the situation. I have been told several times, Ethan will NOT qualify for services. And, private services are horrendously expensive and they are NOT covered by our insurance. Testing is generally not covered by our insurance either. It is also horrendously expensive. I gave up babysitting in November for the sake of my mental health and because of Ethan's worsening condition. It was too much for me. So, with those funds being gone, we are struggling that much more.
Really, money comes and money will go. It is just hard to have that one more concern when I am struggling mentally and physically on a daily basis with this kid.
After our meeting in the Bishops office, I did not return to Relief Society. Peter took the still sleeping child to the car and I took my very red rimmed eyes home. Then, on the way home, Ethan starting yelling for a bean burrito. Wishing to end the harassment, I gave in. I went through the drive through at Del Taco and bought him his bean burrito. Yes, it was a moment of weakness. But, I've grown so tired of the yelling and the fighting. I just want it to END!
After church our good friend Maryanne Bingham came over. We had dinner of Cheddar Broccoli soup and Loaded Bake Potato Chowder, Salad, and homemade fresh out of the oven rolls. It was a most delicious dinner.
Then we at 7 pm, we had a meeting for Steven. In July he will be turning 12 and will be going to Young Men and will receive the priesthood. The meeting was about that. We left the other 3 kids under the care of Rebekkah and went to the meeting just Peter, Steven and I. By the time we left, Ethan was well on the way to going to sleep. I knew Jonathon would just play video games and that would just leave Rebekkah to care for Aeron- a very manageable task.
I could hardly keep my eyes open during the meeting. I was tired. It was a lovely meeting. It was a very nice meeting for Steven. He enjoyed it. Peter and I each wrote him a letter telling him something we liked about him and how we hoped he would continue to make good choices in the future. Steven felt very appreciated. It was a good boost to his self-esteem and a period of time he will hopefully look back on with fondness.
So, that's my day. It was a very exciting one. The Gale family's life is never lacking action or excitement. I often wish it was a little more calm, but hopefully, that will come with time. I can only hope!
Ethan in one of him "moods"