Mar 162018

Bruce and I were in a Burger King when Lilly was about twenty. While we waited in line she had her thumb in her mouth, simply because strangers were all around and she was nervous. An old gentleman was watching her and he said, “You know you shouldn’t have that thumb in your mouth. You’re putting germs from everything you touched in your mouth. No sir, you shouldn’t be doing that.”

Lilly removed the thumb. It’s a good thing for him that Lilly wasn’t agitated or he could have had a fist in his mouth, LOL!

When Lilly is disregulated, she doesn’t realize she’s sucking her thumb. When fearful and in public, I use a hand motion that brings what she is doing to her attention without embarrasing her. Other people don’t notice, but she takes the cue and removes the thumb. If she is agitated, I never tell her to stop the thumb-sucking, because we don’t like to see her get even more agitated and possibly out of control.

If you’re addressing a bad habit that your child has be careful that you:

Don’t ask them to accomplish something they are incapable of because they don’t have another way to cope.

Don’t address the bad habit during a time of duress. It’s pointless.

Don’t ever embarass them in any way.

Work on a secret signal between you and your child that is barely noticeable to others, and only use it when your kid is not greatly agitated.

I’d be interested to hear from other people about their situations and what they have successfully (or unsuccessfully) used.


Love my readers! -Nealie


Mar 022018

Lilly was a handful whenever we went ANYWHERE, but going to a restaurant was particularly challenging. She loved “McDannel’s,” and so McDonald’s was the place for some of our early outings with her.  It’s a relatively safe place to take a child with a tendency for wild rages. The best time of day for an outing with a child like that is about two or three o’clock, because the restaurant is not as busy.

Rehearse the rules ahead, and the main rule is that if there are any outbursts, “The food and drink go in the trash, and we go home.” Eating out is not a right, -it’s a privilege!

We actually did throw food and drinks in the trash receptacles and left the restaurant a bunch of times times before Lilly got the idea that we weren’t kidding.

One time we were at a sit-down restaurant and she was agitated that it was taking too long. She began to get loud and unruly, and when our meals came, I took her plate from the waitress and set it aside, out of Lilly’s reach. I said, “You may not get this. You can always have left-overs at home.”

If she wanted her food, she had no choice but to settle down, and she did.

And then there were the trips to the car when there was the beginning of a scene at a restaurant. It was hard work, and I am sure other people thought we were being mean to the cute little girl.

Lastly, make sure that you discuss what the child is allowed to order before you go in, and make sure you leave a good tip if it is a regular place with wait staff.

Lilly is polite when we go out to eat today because we stuck with it. Good luck with YOUR wild child.   😀  Nealie


Feb 162018

Yes-No-Syndrome-Nealie-RoseI’ve seen enough of a syndrome to give it a name! One of Lilly’s new doctors called me and asked what her diagnoses were. I rattled them off and added, “And there’s one that I made up, but it affects everything Lilly does.”

I give the doctor kudos because she could have ignored me. This curious doctor actually asked what it was!

I replied something like, “I call it the Yes/No Syndrome. When everything goes well, and Lilly gets a yes everytime she wants something, the world is a lovely place. But when she gets a no, the world can be an ugly place for everyone around her. She doesn’t take no’s well. (Remember the tossed dresser and a broken window in Chasing Lilly, because I told her she had to wait for a brownie until after dinner?)

The Yes/No Syndrome exists because she doesn’t have all the resources she needs for coping. She has legitimate anxiety and discomfort when she hears a no. And it can be overwhelming to her.

I spoke to Lilly’s therapist the other day about my made-up diagnosis, and asked if there was a way to help Lilly get used to taking no’s. I mentioned that the last time Lilly was at my house she saw a tiny peppermint on the counter and asked if she could have it. I could easlily have said yes, but didn’t because I thought maybe we should practice, and begin really small. 🙂

Lilly was surprised I said no to the mint, and she was uncomfortable for a few seconds but was able to get past it. I would never before have said no to a tiny mint. We’ve all been told to “pick your battles,” so we gave Lilly a yes whenever possible.

Lilly’s therapist is terrific and said she would begin to work with Lilly on accepting no’s as a type of conditioning.

I’ve told Lilly that we are going to practice this, and she recognizes that she has a problem with accepting a no, because of concrete examples, such as, “Remember the time you got mad because of this particular no, and you broke the TV? How could it have been different if you accepted the no?” (Answer: I would have had a TV.) I don’t think it would be good to give many examples, because we have to stress that kids like Lilly are not bad people because they can’t get their act together, and they need to know that.

Ending on a funny note, Lilly’s new doctor called me (laughing), and said, “We are seeing the Yes/No Syndrome, Mrs. Rose!”

Love my readers, -Nealie




Feb 092018



Cat in Seed Beads, by Ari Kuzmik


I chose this cat picture pecause it’s kind of wacky, just like many of my conversations with Lilly! Lilly sometimes goes to the hospital for a stay related to her mental health, and to get her settled down following a bad time.

What I love about Lilly is how she can make me laugh. The following are all hospital-related conversations:

“Mom, all my life I been fighting back. If someone hit me, I hit him back. When I got to your house, you taught me better than that. But I don’t listen. I don’t know why I don’t listen. I want to defend myself. Guess what this man taught me at the hospital?”

I’m alarmed and ask, “What?”

She answers, “Rummy.”

Rummy? Suddenly I can’t stop laughing.



Lilly called me from one hospital and said,

“They got some good activities here. They have these vending machines. A pop machine. A snack machine.”

I asked, “Lilly, is the vending machine the activity?”

Now she can’t stop laughing. 🙂



On a hospital trip to see Lilly, we often play cards while we talk. She’s a good card player.  It’s hard getting things past her and beating her can be a challenge, which doesn’t seem to mesh with her elementary handwriting and reading.

During one Old Maid game, she knew I had the Old Maid and that I desperately wanted to be rid of it. It was her turn to draw one of my last two cards, and she picked the right card, leaving me with the Old Maid. I said, “Rats!”

Lilly giggled and replied, “Nice try, Homey.”



Lilly called me and said, “Mom, I’m just keeping it 100 with you. This place is messed up.”


😀 Love my readers, Nealie