I use to do it too ….

I was 18 yrs old and very pregnant with my oldest son.  I had all these dreams and expectations of motherhood, and was excited about the journey I was getting ready to embark on.  I was standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart and the family in front of me had a beautiful little boy.  He looked to be about 1 or 2 and he had blond wispy curls.  When he turned his head in my direction I realized he had a great big shiner on his left eye.  I then realized he had tiny little bruises all over him and I immediately judged his parents.  Why kind of people do that to a baby? 

I remember going out to eat with our son and how well behaved he was.  I remember starring at other children who were loud and running about and thinking my kids will never do that.  What kind of parents let their kids act like that?

I remember passing a mother in the grocery store whose young boy was flailing on the floor and thinking why don’t you just pick him up and go home?  What kind of parent let’s her kid act like that?

I remember watching a friend of mine cook separate meals for her son because he would eat what everyone else ate. It was to this or to that.  I remember telling her that she spoiled him and that he should be made to eat it. What kind of parent let’s their kid act like that?

There are more examples of my judgmental self righteous attitude towards children and their parents, but I’ll stop here for now.

Even after I had my oldest son (who was way too easy of kid) I sat in judgment of these parents, who obviously didn’t know how to parent.  After all parenting was something I came at naturally, just look at my quiet well mannered little boy. He never threw tantrums, never turned his nose up at food, and always did exactly what I expected him to do.  I was a pro!

It wasn’t until my Roo came along and turned my world upside down that I realized just how judgmental and self righteous I had been.  

I got to be a stay at home mom with Roo.  We had started a mommy and me class when he was four months old.  He was huge for his age and at 4 months wore a 12 month outfits. He couldn’t sit up on his own and the other mothers asked me “what’s wrong with him?” I was so mad!  What’s wrong with him, what’s wrong with you he’s four months old!!! At 9 months old he still wasn’t sitting up, his head was so big he couldn’t balance it, and again “What’s wrong with him??” 

At 18 month’s he started pulling up on furniture and trying to walk.  One day my boy fell face first into the coffee table. He received his own shiner too boast his accomplishment.  That year we had to have his picture taken in long sleeves and long pants to hide the marks of his new found skill.

We tried several time to take him out to eat at restaurants and he would throw tantrums and cups, and run wildly away.  Nothing helped, nothing worked!  And the stares and comments from on lookers.  We stopped going out to eat. I couldn’t take him shopping. 

What kind of parents let their kid act like that? 

I’ll tell you that your (my) initial assumption is (was) a parent who is lazy and doesn’t give a crap!  And, just for the record sometimes that’s true.  But sometimes, sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes that child is facing a challenge that is not seen outwardly.  Sometimes what people need are compassion and help, not judgment and condemnation.

To any parent that I have thought badly of and judged over the years I truly am sorry, I didn’t get, but I get it now.  I am sorry I was rude and judgmental.  I’m sorry if I stared or sneered at you or child.

To those of you that are in the place I was in 8 years ago. Stop it! Have some compassion.  Don’t assume incompetence. Try to see the big picture, be helpful.

I use to do it too … now that I am living the flip side of the coin I get to see a new perspective.  I will do you the courtesy of not judging you back, but I will ask of you to try.  Try to understand the otherside of the coin and treat people with dignity and respect.

 

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I dont know what to title this … lol

 So very often when I write it is an overflow and outpouring of the negative thoughts and feelings that are poisoning my mind.  What ifs and Oh No’s that flood your brain every day, I write to remove them.  It’s my therapy.  I find it hard to write anything when I feel in control, when I’m in good spirits.  Unfortunately I think that has the tendency to magnify the negative aspects of Autism.  I think it magnifies how it negatively affects our world.  Every time I get in this mode of being more positive, I find that I have nothing to write. 

I sit here trying think of something positive to write and I come up with nothing.  Not that positive things don’t happen, not that my son isn’t ROCKIN’ his Autism this school year.  Why?  Why is it so difficult? 

I think it boils down to this, for me. When I joined the Autism community three years ago I was so lost.

I had this kid, who was wonderful and loving, who I loved with all of my being, who I couldn’t understand, who did and said things that I couldn’t wrap my mind around, who had then been diagnosed with this Autism thing. 

I was a failure as a parent (because good parents don’t have kids who do these things), I didn’t know what “Autism” meant and I thought it was a prison sentence.  Here I have this kid and he is what he is, and my life is what it is and this is all it will ever be for him and me. 

I felt isolated and alone. I felt like I was the only mom whose kid smeared his crap, yelled, screamed, kicked, punched, broke my house, threatened his classmates, and got stuck in modes.  It seemed like nothing helped, nothing worked.  I was scared, ashamed, and alone. 

I googled Autism – don’t do that!  It was awful and made my anxiety and depression even worse. 

I typed Autism into the FB search bar and the first page that popped up was Home style Mama (with a side of Autism).  I looked at the pictures of her kids and I read her whole page; every post, every comment.  I then searched Asperger’s and I found Confessions of an Asperger’s Mom.  Her boys were older than mine, and again I looked at the pictures of her kids and I read her whole page; every post, every comment.   I then found other pages like Autism with a side of Fries, Because they Chose Us, Find my eyes, Autism Daddy, Deciphering Morgan, Autism Diaries, and so many more. What I found was something I never thought I would find after our DX. I found hope and community.  I am not a terrible parent, my beautiful boy is not the only kid who does these things, I was not alone, and AUTISM IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. I found acceptance, resources, how to help my son be who he is! 

Through reading other families journeys with Autism, their ups and down’s I found my voice and most importantly I helped my son find his! 

So maybe my blog is not magnifying the negative after all.  Maybe someone is out there who is lost, and maybe they will stumble upon this blog and they will say hey I’m not alone, my kids does that too, there is hope.  I will still strive to write about the positive steps we have taken and the great strides Roo has made in the last three years, but it’s OK to write about the not so great things too – because someone out there needs to know that they are not alone, that they are not a bad parent, and that there is hope.

Football….

Oftentimes, I am running after Roo, trying to help him, guide, de-escalate him – so when the opportunity arises to just be there for one of my other kids I move heaven and earth to be there.  I am at a football game; my oldest boy is on the team.  I am there to support him, to cheer him on, to just be there.  On this night I have the two little’s with me, my daughter is completely enthralled by the cheerleaders and they are occupying all of her senses.  Roo on the other hand not so much. 

Football stadiums are loud and crowded; tonight even more so than normal.  Our team has won two back to back state championships, and we are playing the one team we have never beaten. The crowd isn’t even trying to contain itself.  I knew it would be this way and so I waited till half time to go in.  I know Roo can’t stay in the stands, it all too much for him.  I start to scan my surroundings; I need a spot where I can see J, Sissy can see the cheerleaders and Roo can just be.  There on the north end zone, the perfect spot!

We get over there, get comfortable, and relax – sort of!  Let’s face it, parents never truly relax.  Sissy is copying all the cheers, giving it her all, Roo is trying to compact himself as much as possible.  At some point some other kids, younger kids are horsing around, running up and down, that sort of stuff.  Roo wants to join in.  I say no, let’s see if we can find bubby on the field.  At some point, he gets up and starts to reenact the tackles on the field.  He is not hurting anyone and he’s not freaking out so I let him be. 

I spend much of the 2nd half of the game corralling Roo, keeping him occupied, listening to his stories, keeping his gangly arms and legs out of the reach of anyone else, and I do get the rare opportunity to clap for my oldest.  I am there and that is enough.  At the end of the game the team, coaches and parents all like to huddle on the field and pray.  It’s nice and we avoid it at all costs, because there are way too many people.  Unfortunately, they are huddling in our end zone tonight.  I am trying to keep a handle on Roo all while looking for J and maintaining a level of awareness for Sissy. And, my nightmare begins.  There are too many people, too much noise, and he’s gone. 

I am frantically searching through a sea of red shirts, trying desperately to find my boy.  He’s gone, he’s nowhere.  Oh, Lord! Please, Please help me!  I have to find him.  I can’t find him and I have now lost sight of Sissy too.  She’s smart; she goes to the goal post and stays.   I come out of the mob and there he is.  

It’s the most amazing sight!  He’s playing football!  I mean really playing football!There are about 6 boys including him, all around the ages of 7 or 8 and they have an empty mountain dew bottle and they are playing football.  Roo is playing with other kids and he’s actually playing and he’s really kind of good at it!!!  I stand there in awe for awhile watching my clumsy, awkward middle child, run like the wind, laughing, playing, included.  I tell him it’s time to go, and he doesn’t throw a fit.  He runs over, grinning from ear to ear; as one of the other boys says see you at school Monday!  Amazing! 

I have forgotten that he was lost; I am so overwhelmed at the sight of him being included and putting himself out there, that the fact that he was lost is not even a distant memory.

Can’t we all just get along?

I have so many post rolling in my head, but this one is the one that seems to want to come out.

Webster’s Dictionary com·mu·ni·ty/kəˈmyunɪti/ Show Spelled [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] Show IPA noun, plural com·mu·ni·ties. 1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. 2. a locality inhabited by such a group. 3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the ): the business community; the community of scholars. 4. a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe. 5. Ecclesiastical . a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule. World English Dictionary community (kəˈmjuːnɪtɪ) — n , pl -ties 1. a. the people living in one locality b. the locality in which they live c. ( as modifier ): community spirit 2. a group of people having cultural, religious, ethnic, or other characteristics in common: the Protestant community 3. a group of nations having certain interests in common 4. the public in general; society 5. common ownership or participation 6. similarity or agreement: community of interests 7. (in Wales since 1974 and Scotland since 1975) the smallest unit of local government; a subdivision of a district 8. ecology a group of interdependent plants and animals inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other through food and other relationships

Typically, at least in my experience, communities build each other up. They are there to support one another. Never in my life have I ever been apart of a community that didn’t rally together when times got tough. When tragedy struck, they came in droves to help and protect one another. Until this one. It is disheartening to say the very least. Always bashing one another, trying to one up one another, passing judgement till no end. If we do this to one another, how on earth do we expect people outside of our community to do any different. Being part of a community doesn’t mean we will agree on everything, but shouldn’t we have some level of mutual respect. Not every treatment works for every patient. Can’t we just say hey, that didn’t work for me but I’m glad it works for you. Not every idea that comes up will be favored by all. Can’t we just say hey, that doesn’t sound like something that I’m interested in but I’m glad it works for you. Not every person’s symptoms are the same, Can’t we just say hey, it doesn’t affect me that way but tell me how it affecting you. Not in this community, in this community we jump on bandwagon’s and assault each other and tear each other to shreds. Like any other type of research we take what we can use and we put the rest to the side, but not in this community. In this community we hear things like, your kid’s not autistic enough, if you vaccinate your a monster, if you don’t your a lunatic, if you let your kids eat what they eat your lazy, if your go GFDF your feeding into mob mentality, if you do this therapy your torturing your kid, if you don’t do therapy your not doing enough, if you talk about Autism your destroying your kids future, if you don’t your ruining them and not protecting, advocating, — what ever the complaint maybe. If they get out of your sight for a second your not watching them, if you helicopter then your being over bearing and not letting them live life …. where does it stop, where does it end?!?! Can’t we just agree to disagree. If we can’t get along in our community, we will never get the rest of the world to see the awesomeness that is our kids. And if we can’t do that, then they will never see the awesome adults they turn into. Just think before you respond to posts and blogs, is this helpful or hurtful? Can I add value to the conversation or am I just stirring the pot? If you can’t add value to the conversation, just move along.

A New School Year!

There are lots of changes coming down the pike, most of them driven by the fact that school is about four weeks away.  We need supplies, clothes, routines and most importantly preparation.

Wednesday we drove past the new school. Unfortunately, the major overhaul they scheduled this summer is still going on and it upset Roo.  There are a lot of new changes for him, where we live there are four schools (K-2, 3-5, 6-8 & HS).  This year Roo gets to move to a new school; that means new building, new teachers, new principle, new toilets, new hallways, new rules, new playground, new lunchroom … you get my drift.  And, now there is uncertainty in his mind that there will even be a school, as it is still in the remodel process.  The school will be ready, I know it will.  This year he and Sissy will be in different schools.  They will get off the bus at different times and get picked up at different times. There’s a lot to adjust to.

The supplies and clothes are being put on hold till the first weekend in August, its tax free weekend (Woo Hoo!!!) The routines are being hammered out, I want to start them next week so they are old news when school starts (we will see), and we are starting the preparation phase:

Phase 1: Take your kid by his new school and completely freak him out because you are too stupid to drive by and check it yourself and now he thinks it’s broken and he doesn’t have one.  CHECK

Phase 2:  Hammer out Morning, Afternoon and Evening Routines and implement at least three weeks prior to school starting.

Phase 3: Write letter to teacher introducing your amazing little man and all his awesomeness and my contact info just in case she can’t handle all the awesomeness that is my Roo.

Phase 4: Get supplies and let him touch, smell and lick prior to school starting.

Phase 5: Tour the school, several times to get familiar with faces and places.

There is lots to be done, as soon as I get Schedules worked out I will post them and you can tell me what you think.  I will also do a post on the letter for his teacher.  I am open to any and all suggestions. 

What do you do to get you kiddo ready for school?  I really want to know 😉

Wow! Where did that come from?

We have had a pretty uneventful summer, when you take the past school year into consideration.  Our behaviours have been much better, although life has been more relaxed.  He has a lot more time to do what he wants to do versus what he needs to do at school.
We have had some pretty stellar moments too!  We learned that his meltdowns are fear driven and not anger, which completely blew me away! You can read about that here. 
We participated on a baseball team with NT kids and did really well, despite our lack of fine motor skills and the inability to catch.  He even made a friend, which was awesome!!!  We also went to the end of the year party, and while he stayed mostly to himself he did participate in a round of kickball and a water balloon fight.
We are collecting maps from the fifty states, which has been exciting!!  He has beaten all the video games we own :).  He has made some pretty awesome Lego creations!  He also got to got to the Lego Land Discovery Center in KC!  Oh and he got to see downtown KC, which he thought was Metropolis … LOL! He went tubing at the lake with his dad and cousins. And he hasn’t been in a bit of trouble at camp, till yesterday.
So what happened yesterday?  Who knows. Most certainly not anyone who was there.  The boys were sitting around the table at camp … talking and completely out of the blue Roo tells another boy that’s not involved in the conversation in any way shape or form that he’s going to hurt him.  Umm…I am being a bit vague in the comment.  It was a pretty serious threat and pretty much on target with threats he’s made in the past.  However, usually he’s in fight or flight mode.  Yesterday he was “joking”. It wasn’t funny!  We cannot fathom for a second what caused it.  He hasn’t had milk, which does cause him to have behavioral issues!  He wasn’t upset or fearful.  He hasn’t had a single problem all summer! We have been talking about school starting up and he did get his new school shoes the day before.  Honestly, I don’t know what caused it. The cause is important so I can know how to prevent it.  Needless to say, he has lost electronics for a week

Have we been going about this all wrong?!?!

The “A” word is something we deal with a lot in our house.  How it manifests itself.  How we react to it.  How we handle it.  How we combat it.  How we stifle it. Due to our last therapy session and some information revealed to me by my son; I think we are fighting the wrong “A” word.  I think we are going about this whole mess the wrong way.
Look at this sweet, curious and proud face.  How does a creature that is so sweet and loving become so aggressive and angry.  How do we go from empathetic and cuddly to angry and aggressive in 5 seconds flat.  People who do not spend any amount of time with him take one look and think I’m nuts! There’s no way that he acts like that.  People who have been there to witness it stare in disbelief and fear for the complete 180 he turns.  He truly can be Jekyll and Hyde.

In the classroom, it has manifested itself as throwing objects to include books and desks, destroying property like his pencil box and dry erase board, hurting himself or others, hiding under his desk and head banging and threats against himself and others to outlandish to even repeat. 

At home, it manifests in screaming and yelling, throwing things, hitting, hiding, running, kicking in our bedroom door, and saying things like “No one even loves me”, “Everybody hates me”, “I hate my life”, “I am stupid” etc.

Anger flows out of him like a volcanoe erupting.  Its is heart breaking and scary.  When he gets like this I can barely contain him, and he’s 8 and weighs 60lbs.  What will 16 be like? Or, 10?  12? 40?

We started in home behavioral therapy and monthly counselor visits.  And while we have seen some improvement, its not really enough to write home about.  It seems like the episodes are getting worse instead of better.  The harder we try the worse it gets. 

The monthly visits up until yesterday were mostly about collecting background information and the whys.  Why do I think he needs to be there?  Why does the school think he needs to be there?  Why does Roo think he needs to be there? etc.  Two weeks ago she talked to Roo a little bit about different feelings,  showed him some emotion charts etc.  After that she decided he needed to be seen more often. We now go bi-weekly. 

That brings us to yesterday!  On the way to our appointment, Roo was restless and fidgety in the back seat.  He didn’t utter two words to me the whole trip.  I tried to ask him about his day. No response.  I left him be.  When we pulled up to his appointment, he refused to get out of the car. He didn’t want to go!  “I hate doctors!” “I am not going!” I said fine stay in the car and roast I am going in.  He got up and came in with me.  We checked in and went straight back, I love that we never have to wait more than 5 minutes for his therapist.  She asked him about his week and then wanted to do an exercise with him that quite frankly seemed a little hokey to me. I actually thought, “this is what I’m paying for?”  But atlas it was one of the most eye opening experiences I have had in regards to Roo in a long time.

The exercise:
She had him name the four food groups and then he had to name a small and big item in each group.  i.e., grape and watermelon, peanut and steak, wheat and bread, shredded cheese and milk (These are what he picked)

Seemed silly, right?  She then explained that a grape and a watermelon were both fruits but one was big and one was little.  Duh?  I honestly at this point was less than
impressed.
She then took out a white board and wrote MAD SAD GLAD SCARED across the top.  Explaining that like the four food groups there were four emotional groups and asked him to pick some words that fit each category.  So he picked

MAD
SAD
GLAD 
SCARED
Jealous
Bored
Delighted 
terrified
Furious
Upset
Happy
cornered
Frustrated
Lonely
Playful
frightened
Angry
confused
Silly
Panicked
She then had him pick two different colored markers.  To my amazement he picked black and YELLOW, not RED. (That is a whole new blog post, for now Insert crazy white girl dance here)  He decided that black would be for feelings he felt little and yellow for feelings he felt big.  Went off in his own space with the board and started marking away.  When he turned the board around to face us, I could tell by her face that it wasn’t what she expected and after looking it over it wasn’t what I had expected either.

MAD
SAD
GLAD 
SCARED
Jealous
Bored
Delighted 
terrified
Furious
Upset
Happy
cornered
Frustrated
Lonely
Playful
frightened
Angry
confused
Silly
Panicked
Really kid?!?!?  You feel mad and sad feeling on the little scale?!?!?  Are you there when you go into full meltdown mode?!?!?!  I can assure you that I don’t feel them little?!?!?  Don’t worry I didn’t say any of that.  We both thought he had misunderstood the assignment, But he said he did what she asked him to do.  She thought because he was happy at the moment that he was feeling that big and the other feelings little so that was why he marked the board that way.  She moved on to the next thing but I couldn’t help but try to process it.  If she was correct then was he also feeling panicked and cornered right then at that moment. 
Can I ask him questions?  I mean I know its her turn to talk but I need to know.  She lets me and I ask him and he says no.  Hmm…we started home I continued to mull all this over in my head, what’s it mean?  I started asking him questions. 
REVELATION:
All this time when he’s getting in trouble for acting angry, and he’s screaming “I’m not angry!”  He really is not angry!  When he’s in full meltdown mode he’s not angry!  He’s scared! 
Our drive home revealed to me, through our discussion, that he’s afraid of not keeping friends, of being rejected, of being wrong, of failing, of not making people happy, of not making me and daddy happy.  And when he gets scared he starts to panic and then he looses it.  And then when WE (the teacher, the principal, the camp counselor, his parents), when we try to correct these behaviours he feels cornered because he’s not angry and he’s trying to tells us but he can’t and then he starts panicking again because maybe he’s wrong.  Maybe he’s not scared maybe he is angry and he’s screwed it up again!!!
How did I not come to this realization sooner? He had always said I’m his safe place.  Why does he need a safe place?  You only need to have a safe place when your not safe, when you are scared.  How in all the helicoptering and meltdowns did I not know my own boy enough to know he was AFRAID!!!!  How did I miss this?  While I am processing all of this I feel something I have not felt in a long time. HOPE!!!  If we start addressing his fear. We can help him to feel more secure then maybe just maybe we can help him get a handle on his reactions to the fear.  for this first time in a long long time I feel HOPE!!!  And Hope my friends is a wonderful thing!

Advocate or Enabler?!?!

It is my desire as Roo’s mom to give him the best opportunities.  I want him to be successful.  I want him to achieve all the things in life that he desires to achieve.  I want him be to happy.  I want him to be accepted.  I want him to have a chance.  I want him to love and to be loved.  Isn’t that what every parent wants?

My greatest challenge in life is to make sure that Roo’s needs are met.  I want to teach him the right things, guide him in the right direction.  Right now I feel like I a Yo Yo!  Am I making the right decisions?  Am I helping him? Am I hindering him?  Am I expecting too much? too little?  Does he need an IEP? Does he deserve one? Is he gifted? Is he having a melt down? Is he a brat?  Is he manipulating me?  Is the blow up of the last 6 months my fault?  Is it Autism?  Is it bad behaviour? Is it bad parenting?

I get upset with someone who is trying to be helpful – In her own demeaning and controlling way.  Yes, she was wrong to talk to someone else about my child behind my back. But her statement that sent me over the edge was “He is as good as he is ever going to be.  You need to medicate him and move on.”  Was I mad because her statement is so blatantly ignorant or because I am afraid she is right?  Deep down somewhere inside do I believe her statement, surly not.  The thought of that makes me angry again.  So many people think he just needs discipline.  That he’s just a brat.  And I fight them, I balk at their ignorance and I move on researching ways to help him. But in my search for information that helps him, have I too become complacent?  Do I explain away behaviours that can be corrected with that’s Autism?  Do I give Autism too much control?  Am I recognizing the difference between Autism and choice?  Am I feeding the monster? 

Serious problems have arose one after another since Christmas.  There is always a reason for it.  There’s a new student teacher. The works too easy for him.  He’s bored. They changed the routine again.  He ate some sort of milk product.  He’s being picked on.  They take things too seriously.  And all of it is true – but is it why?  This first time he got sent home was right after Christmas break and let’s face it he wants to be home.  So each time his behaviors got worse till they caved and sent him home.  Should I have demanded that they keep him?  Should I have insisted on an IEP so the could not sent him home?  Should I have made home so unbearable that he’d want to stay at school? Spanking him does absolutely no good.  I have taken away his toys and video games.  I have sent him to bed (that is not a punishment for him).  I have taken away activities (again, he could care less). 

How do you balance that fine line between enabler and advocate?  How do you know your decisions are right? 

Room Shuffle

Last week I posted on my anxiety over cleaning my boys room and not getting everything exactly so.  I made a lot of drama out of nothing, because I either put everything correctly or he didn’t notice … either way all was good for the moment.

My oldest and Roo are 7 years apart. My two youngest (Roo and Sissy) are 11 months and 3 weeks to the day apart. J has almost always had his own room and his own space.  Roo and Sissy have shared a room with each other since Sissy was born. 
Three years ago we moved out to the farm and everyone had their own room.  You wouldn’t have known it though, because the two little ones were always in my bed.  It got to the point that between the Shermie dog and the kids, my husband slept in Roo’s room.  We finally got them broke of that, it was daunting and took forever. Lots of night with no sleep, as we kept returning little ones to their respective rooms, over and over and over.

At the time we had a 3 bedroom house with an office and a finished attic space.  My brother lived in the attic, J got the office and the rest got a bedroom.  When my brother moved out, J moved upstairs and the office became my sewing room. YAY! But, with J’s asthma and the chimney coming up thru the middle of the attic room, he had to come back down stairs.  And I wasn’t about to give up my sewing room! I did the silliest most selfish thing I could have done.  I moved my artistic unorganized hormone engulfed preteen into Roo’s room.  Their both boy’s, they’ll be fine. 
That was Christmas.  It was not fine!  The battle raged.  Roo has a place for everything and everything had a place. J is more of a free spirit who wants to go where the wind may take him.  The battle of the wills began. Fighting constantly over what belonged to who, who could be in there when, hindsight being 20/20; it was quite possibly the catalyst for Roo’s downward spiral at school.Roo couldn’t handle the chaos that ensued and J i truly believe is incapable of structure. 
The breaking point was last weekend. I scrubbed every inch of their room, it kind of had that dirty locker room smell, it was permeating out into the hall.  I moved every bit of furniture and scrubbed every nook and cranny.  Boys, especially teenage boys, are gross!!! Then after all of that, I walked in to wake them up Monday morning and it looked like a tornado had touched down inside their room.  I was livid, and Roo was a heaping mess on his bed.  He didn’t do it, it was that brother!!!!  As I surveyed the mess, I realized that 90% of it was J’s stuff.  That was it, he had to get out of that room!
So this weekend I swapped three rooms of stuff!  My sewing room is now in the attic.  The remnants of J’s things that were in the attic and his belongs that were in Roo’s room are now in the office, and Roo has his own space.  I set up each room and even made a “tent” for Roo’s  bed.   I let Roo decide where everything should go in his new space and he was more than tickled. 
I am exhausted, but I think this latest change with be a win win for all involved.  Both boys will have their space and I won’t have to kill either one of them anytime soon. Roo will still have company, as his Shermie dog and his Sissy will still sleep with him.  Inseparable those three are, I have tried will no avail to keep Sissy out of Roo’s room. That is a battle I will put of till another day, they both want each other to be there.