Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So far, so good...

Well with 3 full school days under his belt, all is better than expected. He likes his teacher, likes his classmates, likes the cafeteria food (hahaha) and hasn't had a negative word to say about school at all. He's actually been excited to tell me about his day and that is a FIRST. Of course, no homework has been assigned yet, and afternoon is all play time, but still we are free from the horrid after-school med crash meltdowns, spinning behavior, and carbohydrate-stuffing until dinner time. Yay! And best of all, NO ADHD medications at.all. Yet anyway. Which were likely a big part of the problem in the first place.

Last night was the first indication of serious stress in weeks, as he got oppositional right before bedtime, and we witnessed a meltdown that included yelling, disrespectful words, breaking his toothbrush and throwing a bean bag chair, and refusing to go to bed, but no physical aggression towards us as in the past. We maintained an air of calmness, and monotone throughout, simply repeating, "we're not yelling, we're not angry, don't be angry, take a deep breath" and then I had an idea. I thought to ask him quietly if he'd like to be brushed,

I asked if he thought brushing might help him calm down. Well, as soon as I said the words, I saw a physical transformation in front of my eyes -- he kind of wilted a bit, eyes softened, and he let go of all the anger right then and said "please mommy, will you?.." WOW! So we did the brushing, and hugged instead of doing joint compressions, and held each other tight, he apologized with no prompting, and he climbed in bed and fell right to sleep. Yippie!

I can't wait to tell his Occupational Therapist and his Behavioral Therapist how well just the SUGGESTION of brushing worked to divert a full-on meltdown rage! One more tool in our arsenal against the brain monster.


Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day, First Grade

Well, it was a good morning, with a bit of last minute opposition thrown in for good measure. He got up on time (yay!), ate a full breakfast (wow) took his medicine, and got dressed with a little help/strong encouragement from me. He chose his Birthday Florida Gators shirt to wear, and even put on a necklace and cologne. Complained his shoes were too tight, I retied them and all was well. Teeth brushed, then a fight over combing his too-long-but-letting-him-have-a-choice- hair...

("It's MY hair mom, not yours...I can do what I want with it!") which means raking a comb over his hair with two strokes... sigh

Backpack and supplies gathered up and out the door. At first, he refused to have a picture taken

so we got in the car. I've learned to pick my battles first thing in the morning. We had to park nearly a quarter of a mile from school, and walk the rest of the way as cars had over-filled the parking lot and spilled out down the main entrance roadside.

No problem walking plus gave us time to talk a bit, and Dallas was super excited that he was getting to finally "walk to school". Excited enough that he let me take a picture and he was grinning.

We saw a dead flounder in the creek along that way and that was a distraction off our destination for a few minutes... and I stepped in dog poop which was terribly funny to him. :-/

Once in school, we walked to his classroom and he found his desk and sat right down. No time for much lingering for parents, plus he was back to refusing to have his picture taken. I did it anyway. He was a peeved.

A little silent drama over that, then a hug (no mom kisses as that's too "embarrassing"), and I told him I loved him and walked away. He really seemed to be OK.

The anxiety and stress was obvious to me, but not nearly what I had expected. He did very, very well! It was one of the easiest school mornings and transitions we've ever had! Go Dallas!

Here's hoping he had a great first day!

***Edited at 10:45 pm to say YES! Yes he DID have a great day! No ADHD meds all day, good behavior, a great day (to hear him tell it) and then right from school off to OT for an hour, and he did great there as well and was able to sit still and focus on his tedious and challenging puzzle tasks way past the 10 minutes that was expected of him. His OT was just praising and praising him. I was so proud of all he accomplished today, we went by McDonald's on the way home to treat him to an ice cream sundae and some playland time before going home. Tonight he ate a great dinner, showered all on his own, followed directions, and went to bed ON TIME with no fight... Just a few BRIEF moments of meltiness here and there, but quickly self-diffused by Dallas himself, and immediately apologetic. Tonight as I put him to bed and read a story, I snuggled with him, and told him how darn proud I was of him, and how much I love him. He was already half-asleep in my arms. It feels NORMAL around here. Today anyway...

I think I must be dreaming! :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Dance Time

We've actually had a good couple of weeks. Dallas has been pretty level with the moods after a kind of rocky start. We had two days of rather minor (compared to what it could have been, I mean) aggressive episodes that lasted less then 30-45 minutes, back to back, and one crying/suicidal talk episode, but this was during the beginning doses of 25 mg of Lamictal. We were giving it to him at bedtime, and he was up all night, multiple times. Now that we've upped it to 50 mg. and are giving it to him in the morning instead of at night, things seem to be going so much better, and he's sleeping better. No spinning out of control, no depression, no dangerous impulsive stuff, and no violence. He's been able to sit down and chill out, and a simple "no" from us doesn't send him off into a rage anymore. He's still being headstrong and lazy about picking up, taking a shower, coming in when we need him to, etc..., but not in an unusually ugly or aggressive way.

I told him today that it's only a couple of weeks before school starts again, and asked what has been the best thing about this summer and he said "Two things. Spending lots of time with you (yay!), and dad taking me deep sea fishing."

My husband even felt brave enough to take him out on his first deep sea fishing trip this past Saturday. I was worried the entire day (that's just what I do no matter what because I'm mom...), but he was perfect all day, and everyone was very impressed with how well he handled himself. He was the only kid with 4 men looking out for him, so we couldn't have set it up any safer. We had to give him a chance to go and hope for the best. And he shined! This is the best he's been in a long long while.

So... all in all, it looks like we are on the right track with the meds. We had a pdoc appt. today to assess how these meds are working, and figure out what to do about school/ADHD meds, and we've decided to NOT give him any ADHD meds for now and to see if the original ADHD diagnosis might have been wrong since discovering the bipolar medication seems to be helping in regards to anxiety, depression and aggression. Imagine that! Only time will tell how he transitions back to school and if he can cope in a classroom setting with no ADHD medication. Look out school!

His doctor is very pleased with how well he's responding to the Lamictal, and has decided to keep his dose at 50 mg for now. That's a good sign as the usual dose is double that. She also told me that he was "golden" in her office today, and showed no signs of hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention. She said he was "night and day" compared to how he was at our last appointment before he began the bipolar meds. I am just so happy I could do a happy dance. And to think how terrified I was just 3 weeks ago...

He's also saying he is excited to go back to school, and meet his new teacher, and non of the negative "I hate school", "I'm stupid" stuff from early summer or any anxiety that I can detect, so hopefully his summer's been long enough too. LOL.

His OT is using a lot of sensory tools and he seems to be responding REALLY well to those... brushing, joint compressions, weighted lap pads, etc.. and they've been working on handwriting and motor skills, and she said his attention span has been better the last couple of weeks! Who knew that OT could help him so much to relax? We are working on determining what of those tools would be helpful in class and get them added to his IEP.

So, all in all, things are going FABULOUS so far. I think we are finally on the right track... and I am so grateful.