Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This is your kid on drugs...

Things have taken a most serious turn in the past 5 to 6 days. I'm finding a lot harder to write now that I'm not writing about a merely spirited child but about a child with a "mental illness."

I guess I'm honestly shocked at how bad it has been, how grave the reaction to him has been at school, and how I've been left up in the air by school and professionals (psychologist, etc) for days at a time, not really knowing what's going on or what to do about it.

So, because of his complete inability to even participate in class, let alone do anything in school, I've decided to give Ritalin a try. We started Friday, and apparently it worked GREAT! Or at least, according to the note the teacher found time to scribble to me, "medicine helped." I'm a busy person, I have hundreds of clients and wear a lot of hats at my job. I easily write 100 emails per day, at least 5 or 6 letters, and many, many phone calls. I understand being busy, but in important cases, you use complete sentences. Nothing makes me feel unimportant like the lack of care to take time to communicate. This is really bugging me, and I really don't feel like I'm getting much from the teachers at The School right now. I guess the exception is The Social Worker, who has called almost every day and always has time to talk with me. I appreciate her for that.

Monday, per doctor's orders, I upped the dose to a full 5 mg pill. I was called midday by The Social Worker asking me what the heck I'd slipped in his morning glass of milk. He'd been crying at the drop of a hat all day. He was extremely sensitive and overly emotional. Hey, I've been there for a week without any drugs--maybe he's become a mother!

After a talk with his pediatrician, I know now that these are signs that he was given too much medication. So today, we went back to the half pill. Except that I suck at chopping pills. They didn't teach pill chopping in high school. Don't they sell pill choppers? I need me a pill chopper. Bet insurance doesn't cover those. Anyway, he got half a pill, alright, but the other half was utterly destroyed. I'm a waster of a category II controlled substance.

I didn't hear anything at all from the school today, but when I picked him up this evening from day care, I was greeted with a very unhappy Kid, and two more frowny faces (quick review, he gets a happy face if he refrains from both hitting and yelling in either the AM or PM sessions). Under the faces, it read under the first, "hitting," under the second, "run away from teacher 2x." With three frowny faces, you get eggroll.

Apart from the Oooga Booga caveman communication about The Kid's behavior at school, that is MY WHOLE LIFE and concentration right now, it is extremely clear to me that this happy face thing is not at all what I had wanted it to be, and regardless of that, it is not working AT ALL. The plan was to examine his day, to allow him the opportunity, to borrow a phrase from our illustrious president, to see what went right and what went wrong.

I certainly do not define my days by what I did not do (did not commit murder, did not kiss a llama--must have been a great day!), and I can't expect The Kid to either. Sure, getting him to understand how completely serious it is to not hit at school is of the utmost importance. What is also important, however, is to get him to click with what he is doing that is good, and to let me play up those victories, however tiny, to reinforce those good things and help them keep happening. I also think it might be useful to see what portions of the class-day are harder for him than others, rather than one evaluation for a full 2.5 hour period. As it stands now, with all of the sad faces coming home with the terse notes, all I can assume is that he is all bad and that everything I've ever done with him has failed him in being ready for school. It's a really depressing thought! The Kid's exhausted and so am I.

So, I will just wake up tomorrow and mangle another pill into a 2.5mg size and keep on trudging along. Someday something will actually start to work. I just wish I felt like the teachers know how much of The Kid's and my life is consumed by those freaking frowny faces they are sending home every day. Is he really that bad? For reals? My beautiful, darling kid?

As I snuggled him into bed a little while ago. I always give him more kisses than he'd prefer that makes him wiggle a bit more than I'd prefer at bedtime. It's one of our "rituals." After all those kisses, I said, "you know what?" The Kid smiled and said, "I know, you love me." I said, well, it's true. He said, "I'm glad that you always say that to me, mom." I said, Kid, you are special and you are loved. He put his hand on my back and smiled at me and then turned over and went to sleep.

That is The Kid I know.


Peg said...

Hang in there Molly. But also remember - if it isn't working, fix it! Maybe the smiley face thing isn't working ... But what if you designed a form that the teachers could fill out? Or ask the teacher if she has a better idea? And maybe frownie faces aren't right? Maybe it needs to be something less emotional ... something that doesn't imply that he's B-A-D. Like, a number scale? Or triangles and circles? I know, I know ... This is all just one giant "soapy water" suggestion. But it's given with LOVE.

molly_g said...

Those are great ideas, Peg. And not soapy water at all.

The whole soapy water premise is problematic because it makes it sound like I'm not willing to hear other's opinions or ideas. I've certainly not tried EVERYTHING. Just don't ask me if I've tried having him take a nap or something, THAT would be soapy water.

Ms. Ris' website that I linked to a couple of weeks ago mentions a number scale, 2 for very good, 1 for okay, 0 for not good at all... I might suggest this...

Sum kinda princess said...

I empathize with your struggle here and wish I had a suggestion better than what you've heard. However, let me mention that in case you haven't found out yet... they do have pill cutters at the pharmacy. They cost around $5 and work very well. I use one myself every other day. The cost of the cutter pays for itself when you factor in early refills for "shredding" the pills by trying to use a knife. Those pills are scored, but it's easiest to use the cutter. I hope things get better soon.