Tuesday, April 8

When DON'T you speak out of your Ass, Jennifer?

Okay, watching PBS later at night is never good for my brain.

Or it's very good.

Or I am confused.

or not.

Childhood bipolar diagnosises? IS that even how you'd spell that? On Frontline they were talking about the four thousand percent increase in bipolar diagnoses of children since someone noticed the similarities in symptoms between bipolar and ADHD cases. NO, that was not a jenism, they said four THOUSAND percent. Well, if it hadn't existed before, I could see it being a big number, but MAN.

I admit, I am talking out of my ass, the second most uneducated individual not currently an elected official. When I went to school, I studied fun things like writing, and early childhood education. I am not a fan of more meds in general. But I'm also not Tom Cruise. There really can be better living thru chemistry (That was a real book title, by the way). But anti psychotic drugs for four year olds? Two year olds?

I am not speaking, however, from that rare state of bliss, parent of the perfect child, straight A student, everything was NOT super peachy keen throughout my baby's life.
Big O was an intense child.
He still can be.

But when he was two, three, four, it was ROUGH, people. We had a battery of tests to see if he was autistic, if there was something we could pinpoint to make his life easier. He did not warm up to everyone, he threw magnificent, horrific tantrums, and let me tell you, it wasn't for lack of spanking. That was tried, too. They just pissed him off more.

I read a book when he was about four, I think it was called the Highly Explosive Child (?), and while the kids in the book were older, it really described him so well. It was so on point compared to other books I had read. The book offered solutions and strategies to help cope with these behaviors, but there was one problem- The book said, basically, that we should always offer Big O choices, to give him some sense of control, and avoid any situations where he might explode. By giving him whatever it was that he wanted. Anyone seeing the flaw?

Life doesn't work that way. Several of the strategies were useful and saved my ever-loving sanity. But a lot of it was, um, crap. My role as a parent/mentor/guide-- whatever you'd like to call it-- is to help my beautiful boy get ready for the rest of his life, dealing with the rest of the world, which doesn't always offer choices. Sometimes it just hands you a big bowl of shit and tells you to eat up.

His school was okay about his issues at the beginning, but as he got a little older and became more resistant to authoritarian commands they got fed up quick. The fact that he's big for his age just exacerbated the issue. My third grader got asked to leave his school and all of his friends.

I wonder, if I had been offered those magic pills would I have given them to him? Because his grades? Rotten, but I blame myself and his father for not instilling the study skills he needs. He struggles. But I sure love the kid he's become. I wouldn't change him. I do not judge the mom of that four year old I saw on TV, because I was the mom of a four year old a whooole lot like hers. But I'm sad for her. What if she misses out on a kid like mine?

We'll talk about horrifying effects of untested drug regimens on tiny bodies on another post. You may have guessed my opinion.

The other day I got an email from someone that I adore, but have lost touch with. She asked me why I hadn't ever told her how much FUN she'd have being a mom. Gawd, that killed me. Because to me, I gushed about my kid. I had to consciously refrain from talking about him nonstop. He was(is) magic. Even throughout the exhausting drama of tantrums, night terrors, and pure chaos, Big O was my everything--easily the best thing that ever came of my meeting his father (Big O's aunties are also a glorious gift, though).

I sometimes wish the Honey could understand how far my boy has come. He sees those flare ups of temper and sullen moods as huge disrespectful slaps in the face. Having lived through true drama, I write a lot more of it off to the hormonal tidal wave that is hitting Big O. I worry more about his small circle of friends and the bitter cold loneliness of being different in junior high. I feel the need to give him a lot of leeway emotionally because I was a lonely kid, too. But I always had a best girlfriend and I just don't know how boys function. Does he NEED a best friend like I did? His dad's life is such a yo-yo course of ups and downs, and it seems like he's been walking the dog on a low patch for quite a while now (whew--that was a yo-yo reference that just fell totally flat, wasn't it?). My boy needs me to be up for him. I'm not saying I'm blind to his faults, or that I have no expectations of him, but there has to be a place of balance. Somewhere between military school and walking him into junior high every day and reciting his affirmations together.

Sunday the Honey figured out why I don't blog as much anymore. It's because he's home at night now, and I'm not alone. He's right. But I'll make time for this, eke it out of my day somewhere, because it was really nice to have this chat with you. I've missed it.

m'kay, now I'm creeping MYSELF out. Must.get.life. or sleep. something like that.


Bunny said...

My son is autistic and we just recently allowed him to start on meds. He's taking an anti-psychotic that is also approved for anger and mood disorders in autistic kids. So far it seems to be helping, but I feel like a horrible parent for drugging my 7-year-old. It's a hard decision to make and I'll always second-guess my decision.

SQT said...

This is a hard one. I had a kid in my class when I was a student-teacher (2nd grad) that was medicated up the wazoo. I don't think he needed it but my master teacher really pushed for it and the mom followed her advice. I really think that was wrong. The kid just wanted someone to listen to him. He wasn't hard to control at all as long as you were willing to hear what he had to say, but the master teacher had to have perfectly controlled little minions in her classroom.