August 23, 2010,
S.H. asks from Dearborn, MO on August 21, 2010
Grandaughter Drown My Chihuahua , Help Get Me Thru This
I babysit my almost 5 year old grandaughter a lot, sometimes I have her 4 days and nights, according to what my daughter and son-in-law work. This has been going on since she was born. She was said to be slightly austisic. This is her third year in a special school thru the school system. One of her problems at school is aggressiion and not listening. She is not potty trained. I have tried all the tricks. Bribing her with candy, special activites, toys, pretty clothes, bought 6 different DVDs that were recomeded by others on this site. Her parents are very lax about making her mind. She has the language of a sailor, both parents blame the other, I have heard both cursing, yelling, spanking at her. At my hhouse we use time-outs or take away privelages. This doesn't work 100% but seems to work better than their method, They have no order to the way their house is run, no set time to get up, eat, bedtime etc. I have two chihuahua I've had for years, at night they sleep on my bed, at my side or at the foot of the bed. Last night grandaughter woke up and wouln't go back to sleep, I let her get in bed with me as I've done before with no problems. This morning she woke before me got the dogs put in tub and the smallest drown. I'm a mess, she went home HELP
So What Happened?™
Still trying to sort all this out. The picture of what I saw when I opened bathroom door is still playing in my head. Granddaughter went home soon after this happened. I'm told she is talking about it some. I love her as much as I've ever loved anyone and will continue to help her anyway I can. I told her mom I needed a time-out. I really need space. You all have helped me so much. I've made a lot of phone calls trying to find a program to help me help her. Autism has no clear boundaries. I know granddaughter did not purposely do this. I need to wait until I can be sure seeing her won't cause me to get upset, and in turn getting her upset. I;ve talked to parents about "being" parents. They have scheduled a phyck visit. Trying to help them realize just sending her to a "special" school and not doing what they're told don't work. Thank you all, you've helped and I still have a long way to go, I'll do my best! The other dog is still showing signs of trauma, but getting better
C.S. answers from Las Vegas on August 21, 2010
I am so sorry. That certainly is difficult. Well, perhaps after this tragedy you can sit them both down and get them both on the same page (I would). It is possible she is aggressive because they are or sound like they are toward each other, which explains the drowning. To start with, she has some struggles, but it doesn't help to see two grown adults going at it even if it is just verbal.
You sound like you are doing all the right things. I do believe in spanking when necessary, but only in the circumstance when they understand and I don't know that she would. She may take a spanking to be aggression.
Maybe everyone could use some counseling. The definitely sound like they could use some help to discipline her, as well, understand her.
Again, I am sorry.
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M.B. answers from Kansas City on August 22, 2010
I'm so sorry for you loss. I think you should get some help from the local school district. MO has developmental programs if she is truly autistic. The earlier you get help the better the outcome.
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S.L. answers from New York on August 21, 2010
My heart goes out to you. You are such a good Grandmother and don't deserve to have your heart broken this way. there's nothing I can say to make it better. You know you cant blame the small child, but that doesn't bring back your beloved chihuahua. I hope your daughter realizes how lucky she is to have you help raise her difficult child. Let your grandaughter know how sad you are and how much you miss your little dog without blaming her. God Bless you
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A.B. answers from New York on August 21, 2010
Typical children need routines, bounderies and consequences. And when a child has a challenge, they need it more so. Your daughter and hubs really need to get themselves to some sort of program to help them better parent and therefore better enviornment for your grandaughter. I agree with one poster who thinks it wasn't intentional, the drowning of your dog, but that doesn't make the pain any less, I am sorry for your loss. I'm sure you feel since your daughters household is chaotic that you are trying to help. You need to talk to your daughter and hubs and tell them they need to get all the help they need to help sustain a healthy lifestyle for your grandaughter and I think you need to sit the next few months out. Good luck to you and your family.
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C.R. answers from Dallas on August 21, 2010
I am SO sorry to hear this sad story. I can't imagine how torn you are about losing your pet this way.
I can't really see an end to your problem if all parties involved with her care are not working together and being consistent with discipline. I hate to say this but maybe your not the person for the job. I can't see anything but stress for you in this situation. This does not mean that you don't love or care for her but I don't think that you can fix this situation and it's unfair for you to believe that you can.
I know that this is not the same situation but I had a similar problem caring for my dad. Three months before my mother passed away he was diagnosed with Alzheimers. I struggled with caring for him until I no longer was able. Then my sister tried and was unable as well. Being a caretaker for someone that has special needs is a very difficult place to be in. It can cost you highly with being in such a stressful environment. She needs structure and care from a facility that is able to handle her needs. I'm not suggesting "putting her away" or anything like that but a daycare type of place to help her development life skills that could benefit her and take some the huge responsibility from you.
It's just a suggestion, as I said before I've never walked in your shoes so I can only give the advice of caring for my dad.
I just felt like giving you an "internet" hug and say I'm sorry for this happening to you.
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M.R. answers from Columbus on August 21, 2010
What a terrible tradgedy for everyone involved.
This is a loss for you, and you need to heal away from your grand daughter for a little while, take that time. It may be hard for you to let it go, which is sad for her, because you sound like her best hope for any stablity. If you can let go and not resent the death of your beloved dog, then she really needs you. If that happens, and I hope for her that it does, then you should start thinking of her not as a and almost 5 year old, but as a child who has a developmental disability, which means that she is not almost five in her ablity to handle most situations, and she is not ready to be left awake without direct supervision for her own good. She could have drown herself, but you were lucky, as sad as the situation was.
If you are able to let this go and be a care giver for your grand child again, some big changes need to go on, for her sake. Your daughter and her husband need training in the worst possible way, but so do you. Contact a social worker at her school and get some training for how to care for a child with ASD and ask for help to assist your daughter and her husband with the same. She needs specialized care; all the screaming in the world at a deaf child will not help, any more than strategies that work on nuerologicaly typical kids will work on a nuerolgicaly atypical child without some theraputic intervention. That you use euphamism (not listening) to describe her behavioral problems is a dead give away to a great deal of what is going wrong here, and your irritation at how poorly she responds to what you know works for neurotypicals is obvious. Know too, that your daughter and her husband may not be doing what needs to be done here, but even if they were doing everything you were, the results would not be much better.
Bame is not going to accomplish anything for your grand daughter. Even if the parents are doing less than you are, that will not improve things, and as a parent who has been judged to have never done anything to control my autistic kid by her own parents, I can tell you that all that stuff that I did made so little difference that it is very easy to conclude that I have never lifted so much as a finger while I was exhausted from all that I did every day. I can see how someone could give up on trying, because it is that hard, which I think you know, since there is very little that is working for you either, so let that go.
What you are describing is very typical for parents of an autistic youth; very few marraiges survive it and considering the stress of both an autistic child, and a rocky marriage, they are even less equiped to help her as time goes by. Either issue would be more stress than any one person can handle. They need help.
Start looking at this from the perspective that each of you is doing the best you can, and just maybe your best is better at this point, but that does not need to remain the case. Once you have the training you need, see what you can do to convince your daughter and her husband to apply structure to her world too. They may just be overwhelmed and need help to do so. If the structure in both houses are the same, she will have a chance to progress.
If she is not in private therapies, and a lot of them, she is not being treated appropriately. School is great. Schools are required to identify children with disablities and serve them such that they are "functional" in the school setting. My guess is that the school has done that, but they are not responsible for all her treatment, and they are not going to maximize her functionality at home. She should be in private speech, occupational, play, cognative behavioral, and medical therapies. As you know already, sleep is often disurbed in children with ASD, and medical intervention to ease a sleep wake disorder is essential for her to be learning and making progress.
Urge your daughter and her husband to access these therapies right away. If you can attend cognitive behavioral and play therapy with her, you could learn some new tecniques for potty training and how to use concrete langague that she will understand better. If this child has not been to a developmental pediatrician, see that she goes ASAP.
My heart goes out to your whole family, especially your grand daughter. As devistating as this is for you, it is really one of the saddest stories I have ever heard about the effects of under treated autism. She will have to live with this her whole life. I hope that you all can make this the wake up call it could be, and find some help for you as a care giver, your daughter and her husband to cope with thier marriage, parent training for your daughter and her husband, and more therapies for your grand daughter so that she can make some much needed progress.
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K.V. answers from Phoenix on August 21, 2010
All I can really say is (((HUGS))), you sound like a tremendous grandmother and oyur grandaughter sounds like she needs some help with her autism. I cant inagine what you are going through but my heart goes out for you. If possible you should take break from watching her for a couple of days so you can have your time to grieve. Angain I am so sorry love and hugs
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C.H. answers from Springfield on August 22, 2010
First, Do not blame your granddaughter. Her parents are not taking responsiblility for THEIR DAUGHTER'S illness or parenting. Do they not realize their child comes ahead of work or anything else in their lives. They have failed to get her the needed therapy for an atistic child. As she ages her behavior will become more out of control. The child may be in a special school but if it is not carried out at home the school is fighting a loosing battle. The child must have some structure in her life and they need to learn how to deal with an Autistic Child now before it is too late. This is their child and their responsiblity Not Yours, but as a grandmother I would do whatever I needed to get their attention. C.
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S.H. answers from St. Louis on August 22, 2010
very first thought: while it was a dog, a beloved pet, which died......it could have been your granddaughter. Being a caretaker for a special needs child requires a lot!
It is clearly time for the entire family to seek assistance. I truly do not believe that she can be responsible for her actions until she is taught a better way to live. I also truly believe that she did not maliciously harm the dog......there is NO way to know what was going thru her mind at that time.
While you are distraught over this event......& it has brought matters to a head......please try to focus on moving forward. Use this as the much-needed means to provide a better way to live for this child. If her parents will not seek help for her, then it may be up to you to do so. This is a huge wakeup call for all involved. God spared this child's life.....& it's up to all of you to move forward in seeking a new way of life.
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P.T. answers from Kansas City on August 22, 2010
I am so sorry for your loss. I'm sure that it is very difficult for you to understand why your grandaughter put the puppies in the bathtub, but she likely didn't mean to hurt them. I hope that you will be able to have your grandaughter over again without constantly feeling that she was responsible for the puppy's death.
When I was about 4 years old, my aunt's cat had a litter of kittens. I was so excited, but was told that I couldn't play with them, because they were too small. I wanted to play with them, so I took them into my playhouse, which was a shed that they had converted into a playhouse for me. I was pretending to give the kittens a bath in a water cooler, when my aunt walked in. I quickly put the lid on the cooler and sat down on it. My aunt asked me what I was doing, and I was so scared that I told her nothing. Finally, she heard the kittens crying and asked me where they were. Again, I said nothing. She realized what I had done, and was very angry with me. I never wanted to hurt the kittens, I just wanted to play with them, but was told that I couldn't. I knew that I would get in trouble for playing with the kittens, but I didn't realize that putting them in the cooler made the situation worse. My aunt explained to me that I could have suffocated the kittens. The kittens were all fine, but I could have killed them on accident.
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