Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What now?

For the past few months we've had some ups and downs with the boy that have been more difficult than previous challenges. I used to say that the boy has always been a "willful" child. Now we're struggling with the possibility that it might be something more than that. The boy has been seeing a therapist since January. It was perhaps something we should have started a long time ago, but things came to a head for him at school and it became abundantly clear that we needed help. Initially, we thought that the help we needed related to the trauma of losing Eva and of the events and circumstances surrounding that pregnancy. So we sought a play therapist who has experience with trauma.

But after seeing the boy for a few months now and after doing 2 different sets of evaluations with him, including one with a school psychologist, it seems we're headed for an ADHD diagnosis. It's a bit of a shock, but we've been hearing the term suggested to us for a few weeks now. The surprise is that the boy's therapist went to school to observe the boy in the classroom. She called the man and told him that the boy's behavior at school was terrible. After several weeks of an upswing and not getting bad reports, we feel knocked down by this. We have had no indication from the school that his behavior had deteriorated, but then again, they are non-responsive, to put it politely. The boy's behavior at home is generally not bad, but lately we've seen the difficulties pick up there also. So it's not totally out of the blue that he's having more trouble at school but the severity is surprising. And the therapist said that the other kids avoid him. She seems to be suggesting that we get him medication, which we are loathe to do. She seems to imply that his self-esteem will suffer because he will be ostracized if he's left to continue without meds. But we don't want to deaden his creativity and ability. I don't know... I feel afraid. I feel as though we can handle home, but we're not always going to be at home. He will have to find a way to get along at school. somehow.

Friday, May 01, 2009

New Beginnings and Endings

First, the beginnings:
The boy has started bringing home readers from school and reading to us, which is a really wonderful thing to see. In so doing, he is taking another step toward independence. But he's not quite ready to fly the coop just yet. On Wednesday, I went to our monthly neighborhood ladies' event for the first time. We just moved January 30th. I wasn't invited in February. I couldn't make it in March, but this time I was sure to go. The boy bravely let me leave and told me that he wasn't too worried that I was going to Ms. S's house, as long as I came back, gave him a hug and kiss and woke him up to tell him I was home. The next day, he told me that when I leave, he worries that I will die. As hard as it is to hear that and to know all too well from where it stems, that he can articulate his anxieties is a new and wonderful thing.

Now, for the "endings":
The girl, who has had vague interest in and access to a potty for several months, has finally made a *product*ion of it. Until this week, she would see the potty, and occasionally she would sit, we would cheer, and she would stand to start the process over. Clearly, we had misplaced the emphasis.

Well, while we have a potty seat that she has easy access to because it is on the floor, we also have a portable seat that can be used over an adult potty. This one has the added appeal of being festively festooned with Sesame Street characters -- Elmo, "Big Birdy," Cookie Monster and Ernie, to be precise. We have tried to play it cool on the potty front, so this folding seat sits atop the tank in the kids' bathroom waiting for inspiration to strike. Well, it struck the other day! The girl requested the seat to be opened and we placed her on it. She tinkled! Not enough to darken the water at all, but we heard it! Honest! A day or two later, her confidence bolstered, she tried the floor model. She made a little noise. We cheered! She made a little more! We expressed our pride, our adulation, our glee at all that emerged (mostly it was gas, mind you) and we're very much hoping to make a habit of it. No pressure...