Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trying something new

Today we had a checkup for Jacob with his Child Psychologist.  Since Jacob thinks the medicine is wearing off by lunchtime (and so does his teacher) we have upped the dose.  If this doesn't work, the doctor is going to give him a non-stimulant in addition to his normal medication.  We will see.

He actually had a great week as far as behavior goes.  Unless the teacher is being too nice in rewarding him.  It's hard to tell.  He didn't have any half-finished worksheets so all we had was the nightly reading.  This was a blessing considering we had two soccer games and a four-day school week.

The medicine does seem to be slowing him down just a bit.  He took it not long before his soccer game started.  He had his eyes glued to the iPad until game time.  He played his best game ever today.  Came within inches of making his first goal.  I would say he was at least tied for best player on the team.  Afterwards we went to Dairy Queen and he said his stomach hurt.  He didn't eat much of his lunch and only took a bite of his ice cream.  He had a fit on the way home (which hasn't happened in a while).  Once we got comfortable and he laid down for a nap he calmed down.  The evening went very well and he was a huge help with chores.  He even went right back to sleep when it was bedtime.

Jacob made a comment today that he would take the medicine if I wanted him to.  I asked him what he wanted and he just shrugged his shoulders.  I hate that this has to be part of his reality right now and I look forward to the day when we can manage without medication. 

So, the medicine seems to be working overall.  I'll be keeping an eye on the side effects to see if there are any changes. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

15 Minutes...

So for those of you who don't understand what having a child with ADHD is like, let me give you a snapshot of our 15 minutes of required reading:

Me:"If you take a mouse to school..."

Jacob:"No, it's if you give a mouse a cookie."

Me:"No Jacob, that's another book."

Jacob:"Oh. OK.  If you take a mouse to school, (turns page) can I play the Wii?"

Me:"No Jacob, you have to read for 15 minutes first."

Jacob:"OK.  He'll ask you for your lunchbox. Mom - I thought he was going to climb in the lunchbox, close it and write in his notebook.  I guess not. (Next page) When you give him your lunchbox, he'll want a sandwich.  That's like where you work Soundwich."

Me:"Yes it is Jacob.  Very good."

Jacob: "The mouse is in the backpack and he has a yo-yo.  Can I have a yo-yo?"

Me:"Not right now Jacob."

Jacob:"and a snack for later.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven.  There are seven cookies on the counter.  Can I have a cookie?"

Me:"No Jacob.  You already had your snack."

You get the idea.  That was four pages.  This is on a good night when he's cooperating.  It's amazing the teacher can keep his attention in a classroom full of kids.

He's doing better this week.  He got an orange yesterday in school.  They have this really screwed up scale.  It used to be green, yellow, red, blue.  Now it goes red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink.  Red is good.  It used to be bad.  They start on green and go up or down accordingly.No wonder the kids are screwed up.

I asked him why he did so well.  He said that he tried really hard to be good after the medicine wore off.  Well that's a first.  I didn't know it was wearing off in the middle of the day.  I give it to him no earlier than 8 a.m.  So it's only lasting until lunchtime.  That explains a lot.

I asked his teacher to keep an eye on him the next couple of days and tell me when it seems to stop working.  We go see his doctor on Saturday, so we may be in for a dosage change.

Until then, we have one more day.  Hopefully it ends on a high note.

Being Good

"Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill."~Buddha

I had another blog posting ready but this is on my heart so it's going first.  I was posting these under Jacob's Journey, but I've been lazy about posting over there.  

As most of you know, my son has been diagnosed as ADHD.  It makes our lives a bit more interesting to say the least.  We've had a really good summer.  It's always easier when he doesn't have to sit still for an eight hour school day.  Well, we're back to school now.  Week one was actually pretty good.  I forgot to give him his meds the first two days and he did OK.  He was a bit better the second two on the medicine.  He has a great and understanding teacher this year so that helps.

Jacob has been a bit rambunctious the last couple days.   Today was no exception.  Luckily he got to work off some of the energy at the playground.  We went to my mom's afterwards.  While there he picked up her Magic 8-Ball (you know - the kind you shake and ask some stupid question like "am I going to win the lottery?").  He asked it if he was going to be good when he grows up.  Geez.  I about broke into tears right then.  

Where does he get the idea that he's a bad person?  You don't realize just how much he picks up on what other people say.  I picked him up in my arms right then and gave him a big hug and told him "of course you are since you are such an amazing kid already!"  Later on he was called a few more names.  He told me when we talked about it that he wanted to say something but he was trying not to get into more trouble.  I know its tough for him but sometimes I forget how tough it must be for him.  He loves me so much that he is trying not to cause me so much difficulty and he's trying to make other people happy too.

On the surface most people just see a bad kid.  They think he just doesn't listen.  They don't know that it's harder for him to focus.  He's easily distracted.  He is quite impulsive.  He has a really strong sense of justice and will "fall out" if he feels he has been wronged.  He has me telling him what to do.  He has two bossy sisters trying to either tell him what to do or get him into some mischief.  He has tons of teachers with different discipline styles all directing him.  Then the occasional family or friend trying to be helpful.  And has a dad that doesn't think there is anything wrong with him and that he can control his behavior but chooses not to.

No wonder he just gives up sometimes.  And feels like he is a "bad" kid.  He's seven.  Let me repeat that - "He's SEVEN."  Not 14.  Not 21.  Not 30.  He doesn't have life experience to tell him how to behave in public.  He learns from his peers.  Kids his age that for the most part don't act any differently than he does without having a behavioral problem to deal with.  Why do most people expect him to act like a grown up?  To sit still for an 8-hour school day.  I can't sit still that long.   I don't know many people who can.  

Why do people have to call him names?  Why do people label him?  Why can't he just be accepted as an active kid.  A very smart, very loving kid when he's allowed to be.  He's not lighting fires or knocking out people's windows with stray rocks or accidental pitches.  He's not bullying other kids.  He likes to climb.  Anything.  He can't walk - he always has to run.  He fidgets.  Put Mario Bros. in front of him and he's a statue.  Other than that he's moving unless he's sleeping.  But he'll give you a bear hug and melt you with his smile.  Especially if he wraps his arms around you and says "I love you mommy."

So give my kid a break.  And all the others out there that are just being kids.  Don't call them names.  Don't label them.  Let them be who they are meant to be.  Try to remember when you were a kid.  I'm sure we all drove just a few adults crazy.  And we turned out OK.  Most of us turned out to be functioning and contributing adults.  Let them be kids just a little bit longer.  Because before long, they'll be graduating from college.  Walking down the aisle.  Having a hard time enjoying life because of the constraints of being an adult.  It will be here before we know it.  I love you baby just the way you are!

Jacob's Journey

For those who don't know, Jacob is my six-year-old.  He has just been officially diagnosed with ADHD.  The rest of the world already knew it.  I have been fighting the decision to have him diagnosed because I thought I could fix it if I was just a better mom.  Well, through the help of a good doctor and at the request of his current teacher, I was convinced to start him on meds to see if we can help him get through the day better.  I'm going to keep this journal so I can track the changes (if any) we see and maybe I can help someone else with my experience.  Here is our journey...  

Day 1:  Today Jacob started on Focalin.  I didn't really notice a difference in his behavior during the day.  Of course, the kids just got back home yesterday after spending a week at their dad's, so everyone is acting up and way off schedule anyways.  Tonight he was overly cranky.  Not especially unusual behavior for Jacob, but he did seem more tired.  After I got him calmed down again we had a little bit of one-on-one time.  He was acting very sweet and coherent.  Still not out of character for him.  I did have a hard time getting him to sleep but that is normal most nights too.  Well, maybe we'll see a difference in behavior once he has had the medicine in his system for a few days. 

Day 2:  What a difference.  This morning started off rough.  But of course it's Monday and a back-to-school day after a holiday.  We're running late because Jacob didn't like how his sock felt.  This took 15 minutes.  Then he didn't like the coat I picked out.  Finally we get to school.  I hope it's a good day.  
Wow!  I walk into latchkey after school.  It's quiet.  I'm not entirely sure my children are still here.  Jacob walks up to me.  Calmly.  Smiling.  He's had a great day.  He got a green stick today.  That's like the third one since school started.  He even got a sucker.  His teacher said that it was like having a different child.  He said it was because the doctor gave him pills.  I don't know where he heard that because I call it medicine.  Oh well.  I'll take it.  He was even really good while we bought him new tennis shoes (his toe was sticking out of his old ones).  Grocery shopping went smoothly.  He started getting a little tired and wanted to lay his head down.  He was tired when we got home and was not very hungry.  The meds are starting to wear off now so homework is not as easy but is better than normal.  Hopefully sleep will come quickly.  All in all a much better day. 

Day 3:  Extra rough morning.  Jacob didn't fall asleep until after midnight.  He was especially tired and cranky.  He didn't want to get dressed.  He didn't like the shirt we picked out.  We spent 20 minutes on just socks and shoes.  The new shoes were too tight because they were new.  He took them off about 5 times.  Breakfast didn't go much better.  And then he didn't want to wear his coat.  His sisters were tore up by the time we got out of the house.  They tried to help, but nothing was working today.  I ended up getting to work 20 minutes late.  Ugh!  
After school wasn't much better.  I decided to leave early to give us enough time to eat dinner before Cub Scouts.  Jacob didn't want the pasta.  He didn't like the garlic bread.  Everything dragged again.  Cub Scouts was OK.  He acted about the same as the rest of the boys.  We had a few minutes of defiance.  Homework was slow.  Luckily he only had to study his words.  He had no interest in reading tonight, so Brianna read him a story.  He did, however, go to sleep fairly quickly.  Hoping for a better day tomorrow. 

Day 4:  Slow morning again but a little better.  Jacob decided he wanted to wear his Nerf glasses to school and needed a cool hat.  No cool hats to be found.  I finally discovered a flame-covered bandana and tied it around his head.  Finally!  We can leave.  Actually made it to work on time.  Barely.  Jacob got a green in school again.  The meds seem to be wearing off a little earlier each day.  We ran home after school to pick up their things for Awana's.  Then the meltdown started.  Apparently Jacob didn't eat lunch so he was starving.  I had to drop the girls off at church, run through Arby's and get Jake a sandwich, then get back to church.  He was fine during his class.  Of course I found him lying in the middle of the table scooting around when I went to pick him up.  Then another meltdown. 
So, we finally start on homework.  The teacher wants him to write 1 to 100 on a piece of graph paper. 100?  OMG.  This is going to take all night.  He made it through 39 with minimal problems.  Then the trouble started.  He didn't like the way I listed the numbers down the side.  He wanted me to write them.  He didn't know what came next.  He didn't like the way he made a 5.  Ugh!  100 times "Jacob, write the next number.  Jacob, do your homework."  100.  I really hate that number.  After finishing that he had to have 2 more snacks (his appetite has been up) before finally going to bed.  A little late but he did go to sleep right away. 

Day 5:  Alright, mornings are just too slow.  He doesn't like to wake up and is extremely uncooperative for me.  We are going to have to make some adjustments.  Hoping for a good day.  Or maybe not.  The meds have already worn off when I pick Jacob up from school.  He's wound and having a fit.  He is getting more aggressive and defiant.  The fit throwing is getting old... 

Day 6:  30 minutes to put on socks.  30 minutes!  I am sooo tired of the OCD tendencies.  I know I should try to be more patient, but they're just socks!  (Yes, going to get seamless ones tomorrow).  I'm trying a double dose today. 
Well, Jake did well at school, but when I go to pick him up from my dad's, he's on the floor in another tantrum because he's not getting his way.  This is nothing new btw, but is getting more severe now.  He has a huge fit when I put him in his car seat and starts pulling at his hair.  Kiara has a migraine, so needless to say the drive is a ton of fun.
Jacob seems anxious tonight.  He said he feels sad.  I don't think this medication is working for either of us.  Better concentration in school, but everything else is much worse. 

Day "I have no idea because I've been snowed in for 3 days in South Carolina and didn't have my kids all week":
Jacob seems to be doing much better.  Four greens already this week in school.  Says it's much easier for him.  His teacher called me and told me he is doing really well.  My parents didn't have too much trouble with him.  He tried to "fall out" a few times for me, but for the most part listened when I told him something.  The first time.  We'll see in the morning...