Until summer vacation begins. And 2 days after that is the Summer Solstice!! Hurrah! Not that I have any idea what we’re doing for it. Not to mention, since my laptop is down and access to half my files is limited, I can’t really hit up some of my favorite recipes. Bummer.
I have to say I am actually looking forward to this school year ending. It’s been rather traumatic for us. I mean, it started off well enough, and then in October it all seemed to go to shit. The youngest had, had a few behavioral problems at the end of the school year, but nothing serious. Mostly just running around and being silly instead of sitting quietly. It was the end of the year for crying out loud! I wouldn’t expect ANY 6 year old to sit perfectly still in the final weeks of school. I thought it was “normal”. The other two boys were the same way at that age, granted not quite to that extent, but still, little boys are wiggly and there’s nothing wrong with that.
How wrong we were.
So we start this school year and it seems to be okay, though the youngest seems to still have some issues sitting quietly and following all the rules. Hey, it’s hard going back to rules and schoolwork after vacation! Especially when it’s so gorgeous outside! But as we crept into October, his behavior started getting more and more out of control. And then it all just went to hell in a hand-basket. What followed after that is months upon months of doctor appointments, testing, medication, medication re-evaluation and changes, therapy, schedule changes. It was a lot. The biggest issue of course were the daily phone calls from the school to “come get my kid”. DAILY phone calls. If I had a job back then, I would have been FIRED. That is fact. I can’t get a job now, because even though things are better (I’ll get to that), I still have to take him here there and everywhere for appointments, and I still sit in fear that I’ll get a phone call to come and get him.
It was so bad, I couldn’t even leave the house while he was at school, because I sat there waiting for the phone call to come. I couldn’t go to the store. I couldn’t go to any of my doctor appointments, I couldn’t do anything.
And he was being traumatized, too. At one point, I arrived at the school to find the principal physically restraining my little boy by pinning his arms and legs to the ground. Then she complained that he tried to bite her. Well, no shit, Sherlock. I’d try to bite your ass if you pinned me to the ground, too! They made it a “reward” for his bad behavior, he KNEW if he acted up, he would be sent home, which is what he wanted. They TRAINED him.
But I did what any good mother would do. I took him to see a doctor. I took him to a pediatric psychiatrist, I took him to a neurologist. All of them agreed, my kid was legitimately ADHD. He was not one of those “oh we just don’t want to deal with him, so let’s medicate”, but a real, true blue case. Couple that with oppositional defiance disorder and sleep apnea and we’ve got a powder keg of crazy.
His father and I did something we said we would never do. We medicated him. The doctor put him on adderall, and let’s just say after 1 week of that shit, we went back and told her NO! He was fine the first few days, and we saw a dramatic improvement… but it was PAINFULLY obvious when the medication wore off, I mean, his eyes got all dilated and he acted like he was all cracked out until 2 am. So we put him on a different medication… concerta, which let’s be honest, I might as well not given him anything for all the good it did. Thankfully we were only on that for a week before we finally got in to see the pediatric psychiatrist. She put him on something else and we’ve been on that ever since.
We then started a REALLY intensive counseling program, called Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT). It involved weekly sessions, where the counselors gave me an earpiece and coached me through various activities with the boy. The first half of the program involved child led activities, where I practiced new skills on how to play with my child. How to have fun with him and let him realize that HE was important to me. That part was great. Moving on to the Parent led portion was more difficult. We would still start off sessions with child led activities, but then we gradually started having me add commands for him to obey. That first session was a nightmare! One simple command “Dylan, please put the green block into the box” and it all went downhill. What followed was 2 1/2 hours of screaming and crying and refusing to obey. He had to sit in the time out chair. He wouldn’t sit in the time out chair, so I would take the toys and leave the room (the counselors could still see him and monitor him) and he would try to lock me out, he threw chairs, kicked the walls and screamed. I would go back in the room after a minute and ask him to sit in the time out chair, he wouldn’t do it so I would leave the room again. We did this for 2 1/2 hours. He started begging “please, mom, I just want to go home! I’ll do anything! I’ll sit in the chair, just let me go home!” But we couldn’t leave until he complied with my command. He did it, but it was hard. I will admit, when the begging came, I would have normally caved in to him and let him get his way, but they wouldn’t let me. They helped me stay firm, and in the end, as hard for me as it was (I was a basket case when I got home) it was a good thing. We only had one more bad session after that, but we managed to make it through the program with flying colors!
The school kept sending him home during this time, until finally after his I don’t even know how many suspensions, we had a meeting with the school admins and district people. My suggestion from October (can we do a partial homeschool with him?) was finally given consideration and we began half days for him. He spent the mornings with me, doing school work and would go to school right before lunch to finish out the day. He was getting better. He was spending time in the resource room (special ed classroom) and developing a rapport with the teachers then and started doing his work again. After a month of this, we increased his time at school. He’s only been sent home a couple times since we started doing this schedule, but mostly over silly misunderstandings. This week, he’s going back to regular schedule and we’ll see how it goes from there.
However, they want to send him to a different school next year. Where he would be in an extremely restrictive classroom environment with other behaviorally challenged kids. I have mixed feelings about it. I mean, he would be in a classroom with a smaller number of students and more teacher support… but he would be leaving all his friends behind and would be away from his older brother. He would be picked up by the short bus and driven all the way across town to a new school. And should there come a time when I need to go and pick him up (say he gets sick or hurt) my new worry is, do I have the gas to drive across town to get him? Rock, meet hard place.
We have to decide before the last day of school if we are going to sign the paperwork for his transfer. I managed to get the district to finally agree with me on letting me see the school and classroom they want to send him to. So that’s a good thing. That will happen later this week, so we’ll see how it goes.
So that has been my last several months. It’s been difficult. While this was all going on, I felt like I was going to lose my mind at times. I even told the school I felt like I was losing it (they gave me the number for the suicide hotline – um, I said I was frustrated, NOT suicidal, but thanks I think?) If it weren’t for the support of my own therapist, psychiatrist, family and friends, I probably would have been a lot worse off. They’ve been amazing. My Witchcraft 4 class also gave me something to focus on that was completely unrelated to what was going on in my personal life. Well, mostly. I mean, my spirituality is a huge part of me and my life, but I was able to use my classwork as a way to keep my mind sharp and not constantly worried about the boy. It helped. I’m also happy to say that I was accepted for Witchcraft 5 – the final level in the Temple of Witchcraft series, and I am stupid excited for it to start. Which is not until October. WHY?!?! Why must I wait so long?! Haha, it’ll be okay. I think it’s a good thing that I have such a long break before jumping back into things. It’ll give me plenty of time for things to sink in, and for us to adjust to whatever happens with Dylan, the fact that the oldest is entering high school and the middle boy is in his final year of elementary school. We have some pretty intense changes coming this fall, so I guess… I am really happy that summer vacation is coming up, because we really need the break from the insanity. Time to chill, relax by the river and have some fun! Our weather has been phenomenal for the last few months, and it just keeps getting hotter and better (at least I’m liking it!). So now I need to start thinking about solstice and what I want to do. What it means. How do I want to celebrate.
I’ve got some ideas, but I guess I will share those in my next post, which shouldn’t be too long from now. Since things are starting to calm down a bit, I think I’ll have more time to do some writing. Until then, be happy everyone! And remember, if you’re having hard times, there is an end, it DOES get better. It might not seem like it, but I promise, there is a light at the end.