Last night we went to a Sing-Along downtown and of course Preston was bored and anxious and he 'hated it.' Afterward, he started sobbing and moaning because the radio in the car was too loud and his ears hurt. This isn't the first time he has had this reaction to the radio but it was still surprising for me. After sharing with others some issues that he has had with food (its generally a terrible thing - unless it is sugary beyond all reason), people started suggesting a Sensory Processing Disorder of sorts. This seemed like an adequate fit for his food issues with aversions to colors, textures, smells; it doesn't seem to fit quite as well regarding the issue with his ears as it is not an ongoing problem. This is my big, non-medical conclusion to this - his anxiety manifests itself in various forms.
I KNOW he is very anxious about Christmas, his step-sister coming to visit and the Christmas break. He was complaining of a side ache/stomach cramp on Sunday that seemed to dissipate once coming home from church, rubbing some Serenity essential oil on his wrists and simply relaxing. I think the ear 'tenderness' is also associated with his anxiety and is amplified from stress and lacking the ability to appropriately channel and manage that stress. I personally experience severe abdominal cramping when overly stressed so I can relate on some level to this. As for his "everything is boring and dumb and stupid and I hate it" sentiment, apparently I was the same way growing up and I guess I'm now on the receiving end of every parents wish (include my own parents): "I hope you have a kid just like you when you are grown-up with a family of your own." Yikes. I know I've already wished it upon my kids and I cringe as I think that because really, I wouldn't wish the hardship of raising a child with ADHD, ODD or whatever on anyone else - it, like Christmas, is like getting kicked in the head with an iron boot or like being the floor of a taxi cab.
What I really wanted to do today though is share something Preston's teacher shared with me and it was very validating for me and for my little Preston who deep down doesn't know why he does alot of the things he does and knows he should have more control. From his teacher:
"Update for this week. His grades are up as you can see; I am hovering to make it happen though.
I want it to get to the point I don't have to check him every few minutes. His behavior was not as good. He can not sit still and blurts from his seat so he got a 'think time.' He was upset, but it is what it is. It is as if his brain does not produce the chemical to help him calm down and he struggles between the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do. Sometimes I swear I see the battle raging in his brain. I wish there was some help he could get so he doesn't have to struggle so hard. We will keep trying here at school. He loves it when he does well and knows there will be consequences when he makes mistakes. I love his perky attitude and don't want to squash it. We will continue on."
She is exactly right, his brain DOESN'T make enough of the right chemicals and his frontal lobe is underdeveloped which is where the ability to focus and determine right and wrong and consequences of both actions occurs. It breaks my heart and I wish there was something magical that could change all of that. I do have an appointment with his psychologist to see what else we can try to help him along. The REALLY good news is that there has been major progress from last year to this year - fewer think times, no missing assignments, greater effort and I was thrilled the other day when walking outside the school with the principal she asked Preston how he was and then said to me, "Well, he's got to be doing good since I haven't seen him this year." That is miraculous!
There is no such thing as perfection only progression. I know there will be set backs (like right now for example with all this Christmas business going down) and he will ebb and flow but if the general direction is that of moving forward and progression, I'm good with that. And so grateful. Mared to all you parents during this last week before Christmas. It's a mother. Peace out.