Friday, July 11, 2014

Road Trippin' With The RADish

Part Two in the "Extended Family Beach Vacation" series. You can read part one here.

Tomorrow we will be loading up the car, delivering the puppy to her "hotel", and driving to Pittsburgh for a family wedding. We will be gone just two days, dragging ourselves home Sunday evening. A trial run, so to speak, for our upcoming week long beach vacation.

We have traveled as a family before, on these small weekend trips, and every time a few things go right and a lot of things go wrong. We are slowly putting together our "tool kit" for life on the road with our youngest son. Anxiety, RAD, and sensory issues swim together in a pool of normal five year old boy mischief, which sits in the backseat next to a seven year old who can never turn off his brain and who is, and I quote, "always in need of technology or (his) head hurts!". I ask you, what can go wrong?

We have tried sticker charts and behavior rewards. Charts have been ripped and rewards thrown back in my face. But we must keep trying, right? I am not the one who is operating from a place of fear, so I am the one who must figure this out.

Tomorrow when we hit the road each boy will have a "good times" book, where we, or they, can write or draw pictures of the good stuff. No stickers, no goals, just compliments and praises. My boys are competitive, so this just might work. And if it doesn't, then so be it. If it is ruined in a tantrum I will survive. I am much stronger about this sort of thing than I used to be!

My MZW LOVES all things USA so his good times book should bring a smile to his face!


Each of us, Daddy and Mommy included, will have a visor clip as well. One thing I have noticed on these long drives is that all of us tend to lose it. We each have our own behaviors and we each have moments that we wish we could get back. And all of us, every single one us, needs to be held accountable. I want my boys to see that I struggle as well, and that I am not above reproach just because I can drive the car or buy wine. (mmm, wine...)

They are not fancy, because they might not last. I'm OK with that!

If behaviors ratchet up the clip is removed. If atonement is made, the clip goes back up. Everyone who has a clip on the visor when the car stops for a break gets a treat. Easy peasy. And visual, something very important for my little RADish.

Normally these types of rewards and consequences do not work for attachment challenged children. And we have seen our share of techniques not working. But my little guy is slowly coming around, and while he still frequently cannot be forward thinking enough to learn from his mistakes, he is starting to respond. Starting. A little glimmer of hope. We hang on to what we can, don't we?

So we are ready. This trip includes a large family wedding, loud reception, lots of car time and an overnight stay in an unfamiliar hotel. All of these could easily set off my youngest, so the Sensory Bag is also packed.

  • Sensory brush
  • Squishy bumpy light up hand held ball
  • Play-Doh with beads buried inside and tweezers
  • Essential Oils
  • Matchbox cars (because they are quiet, small, and let's face it, fun to drive over well decorated wedding reception tables)
  • Chewy necklaces
  • Brain Works app for sensory break ideas
  • Melatonin (because I am no fool)
  • Beyond Consequences book
  • Parenting the Hurt Child book

Wish us luck- we are off!

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