I knew there would be times when I wouldn't be consistent and this is my first try at a blog but I had no idea this kind of thing would happen. The day after my last post I was all set to post the second half of the Brave birthday party when a whole lot of things got put on hold, including this blog, all due to one thing...
Yes he's super - super cute, super intelligent, even super sweet - but he's also super hard to deal with at times. The day after my last post really puts it in perspective. We were picking up something by the local mall and the kids know there's a play area there which we hadn't been to in a long time (we hadn't been much of anywhere in a long time) and since we actually had some time we figured why not we'll stop in for a bit and let them play. My husband and I chatted a bit but mostly we kept an eye on the kids anticipating when it wold happen - and sure enough it did. You see unlike other parents who can just sit and enjoy a free moment when at a park or play area of a mall, we are constantly listening for those cries of fear and pain - no not coming from our little guy, from the other kid our little boy hurt. Sometimes this cry comes from a kid a few years older and even a few feet taller than him. I heard that familiar noise and I look over and see him attack this little girl, rip the glasses off her face and throw them across the room. As usual I'm up in a flash and over there in a bound booming his name out in my mommy voice that I really don't like to use but especially in public, and we're going home. We knew he'd be upset to leave - he hates to leave anywhere - but this time was a bit different than other times. This time we got one of his ultra mega tantrums and he screamed bloody murder so bad I had to get out of my seat in the van and go sit by him and cover his mouth so my husband could drive since we were all in super panic stress mode from the whole ordeal. Over the last few weeks there have been many sleepless nights and tears and that's just been from me and my husband. We finally are taking the big plunge into trying to figure out what makes our beloved little boy tick so to say, knowing that it's not just a phase and it's not just the terrible two's and it's not just a typical little boy being a little rough now and then.
It's been really hard and I want to cry right now even as I type. Eli was a wonderful baby. He was quiet and sweet and not nearly as hard to handle as his sister had been as a baby. She would scream until she was red all over as a baby and this birthmark on her forehead would turn deep purple. That birthmark still changes color like a mood ring at times. Then as Eli grew up he changed. We attributed some of his outburst to not being able to talk fully yet and being frustrated at that lack of communication. Some of his first words were "I hate you!" and he screamed them incessantly at our friends and neighbors but we just attributed that to a cranky 2 year old. In our church there's a nursery the kids can go into when they hit 18 months old and then they move to primary at the beginning of the year if they've turned 3. Since Eli was born in February this meant he would have almost 3 years in nursery since he couldn't start primary until the year he turned 4. It took 1 year to get him in nursery - he pinched and bit constantly. There was a time he had bit another kid so they came and got me and I talked with him in the hall for a couple minutes and he seemed compliant so I set him down and opened the door and he went straight in and bit another kid. He never denied it, in fact there were times where the teacher would tell us he hit a child and he would run up and say "no no, I pinch!" (Yes you may laugh - we did then and we do now, it is funny and laughing at what we can is one of our few ways of staying sane through all of this) Finally he seemed to settle in and was doing a lot better and we only had to come get him a few times here and there instead of every sunday. This year is when he turned 4 though and I've been to my own class less than 5 times since the new year as he utterly refuses to go to primary.
It doesn't help that he's always been amazingly strong. When we first moved into our house he had just turned 2 years old and he could lug a whole gallon of milk with one hand up the stairs. It may sound silly that an adult can get beat up by a 3 year old but I can attest to it as there are days where I'm covered in scratches and bruises. Even my husband who is 6'2" and somewhere over 200 pounds has a hard time when Eli goes out of control. He'll head butt you if you try to hold his arms so he can't hit or scratch or pinch and he kicks and bites. Sigh.
There's lots of other issues too. He picks at his lips till they bleed. He refuses to eat particular foods, for example when we have eggs and toast for breakfast he has to have egg whites and plain toast with no butter. I never wanted to have picky kids because I thought it was all about the parents and how they acted when it came to picky eaters - boy was I incredibly wrong. People say to be firm and not give in and that the kids will eat when they're hungry - they've never met my son. It's easy to call him my little super hero because he changes is clothes almost daily and wants to wear his super hero costume type stuff A LOT. My daughter started Kindergarten recently and we'll go to class parties and my son will just sit in a corner refusing to interact with the other kids and participate in the activities. With all of these things I've tried to work with him and often fight with him to get things to be different, to be "normal," but he can go from 0 to 100 in a millisecond, and it can be because his sister "broke his imaginary ball." Yep, that's what he told me one time when he clocked her upside the head. And if I try to get him to stop something, such as picking his lip, it makes it worse and he'll pick it all the more because heaven forbid anyone tell that child what to do.
So why is he this way? What does make him tick? And most importantly what do we do about it so it doesn't get worse? These are the questions that have racked my brain the last month and while we have a tiny bit figured out it's only the tip of the iceberg. We've considered things like Aspergers and O.C.D. and A.D.H.D. but one of the big things we are looking at is O.D.D. which is Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
-ok little rant here feel free to skip - why must we always talk in code with all these letter stuff? Tons of people will spout off some 3 or 4 letter code and it's like a different secret language. I hate that kind of stuff, part of why I will never ever text and use that whole texting language. But even more than that, why does everything that wavers beyond some indescribable "normal" have to be a "disorder?" Why can't we just say Oppositianlly defiant? Although now that I think about it, if I was to tell people, "He's O.D." I guess that can sound bad since OD typically makes people think Over Dose and drugs and all that - again we humans feel we have to shorten everything up these days. Don't even get me started on nicknames - even if you name a child a short name some people will even go so far as to just call them by the first letter of the name. - rant over now we return you to our regular scheduled program...beep...
I'm just barely getting to where I can have time to do stuff - and realizing that I do need to keep doing stuff. The last month I've spent a lot of my time and energy in this boy of mine who today I can say I love and is wonderful, but there have been many times over the last month where I was saying the opposite and that hurts more than any kind of physical pain he can put me through. I was ready to give up this blog entirely as well as a lot of other stuff feeling I would need to now devote myself entirely to the situation of my son forever but as I've was scouring through blogs and articles and essays I found a wonderful bit of advice (wish I could remember the specific thing it came from but I guess that's not as important) but the advice was to keep doing things other than taking care of your child and while I've heard that before this was coming from some parent of a child with autism or something like that, something that was even more intense than my own situation and it jerked me out of the spiraling hole I was putting myself in where I would never have any contact with the outside world ever again. That's part of why I'm writing this - to get back into the swing of things and somehow make time for me.
As for the situation with Eli, my husband and I had felt for some time that maybe there was something up but it wasn't until that huge outburst at the mall I told you about that I honestly sat down and decided to start figuring stuff out. I had called Eli's pediatrician at some point but they just said to talk to the school district. So finally I made phone call after phone call and found the right place and made an appointment. That appointment kept me going for the next week as I anticipated the "cure" to our troubles. I felt they would tell me what was going on and while we don't want to medicate the heck out of our little guy, if we had some starting point, some guide to let us know what road to take. The big day came and I took Eli in, I filled out a long test thing which they looked over and said, "Yes we can see there's some big concerns here," then they asked more questions and asked Eli some questions then told me "He doesn't qualify for anything there's nothing we can do for you." That was it. Wait, THAT WAS IT?!! Yep. I was in utter shock. I hadn't known where to start and this had been the only thing I had found and it was nothing. I came home and laid on the couch in shock for an hour. My husband was leaving to take our daughter to Kindergarten when I had got home and from the look on my face he knew something was up so he bought me a rose and some chocolate - he's so sweet. I found out later and I really wish I had known before - the whole thing with the school district was just an assessment to see if Eli qualified for school help programs - a friend of mine went through it with her son and they told her he qualified but they couldn't say why in any way, all they could say was what programs he could do but they aren't allowed to do anything more than that.
And now my kids are awake and my son is running around pantsless so I can't share too much more. But I'll quickly share that we have found our own kind of path we are following with Eli for now. We separated the kids room so now they each have a room instead of sharing and that has helped. I'm keeping an eye out for all of Eli's little quirks and we're being able to understand some of them better - he likes to wear pajamas all the time because he likes the tight shirts, he wants shorts all the time because he doesn't like how it feels when pants brush the tops of his feet. And I've stopped fighting. There's a lot of things I'm letting go such as the idea that he needs to wear clothes during the day and can't wear pajamas because those are only to sleep in - that's not a battle worth fighting. We also just had an appointment with our amazing friend Jan who is our "therapist" as I call her, who does Body Talk - we're into alternative stuff like that, check it out. We also have an appointment with a conventional therapist our friend goes to whose son has O.D.D. and we've been using an essential oil called Intune and that seems to have helped a bit. We're just starting on the path but those few weeks of nightmare constant tantrums that day at the mall stirred that I was afraid would be our new every day life have subsided a bit and even though he may still have nothing on but a shirt, I'm hearing my little boy play on his xylaphone upstairs instead of screaming so there has been improvement. We're just taking it one day at a time and I'm going to believe that it will get better. It has to - because I love that little guy.