So, now I have to get a diagnosis. We have virtually no support over the Summer. I have backed down when I had the opportunity to possibly get help for N, because I felt ignored and judged. I don't have that option anymore. I believe N has bipolar disorder. Trying to find a psychiatrist with availability in their schedule is impossible. Trying to convince the pediatrician that my son has a serious mental condition is difficult. It is unsavory to think that a 4 year old can have so much violence and aggression within him rather than put into him. I am sick of being blamed and told that I am not being strict enough or giving him enough boundaries. But, I have no choice but to endure it. I have to advocate for my son, even though it is hard and daunting. I have to advocate for someone who regularly physically abuses me and terrorizes my family. It seems so ironic. If this were my spouse, people would believe me. If this were my parent, people would believe me. But, since it is my child, people want to blame me. I am in a situation in which I have no choice but to try. Giving up simply is not an option. I never really understood what that meant, until now.
I wish there was a boarding school for toddlers. I wish I could just pay someone else to deal with N. He is ruining my life. He is making my life and my relationship with my husband terrible. He is ruining J's life. I truly wish he had never been conceived. I'm tired of having my things destroyed. I'm tired of being hit and kicked and smacked and yelled at. I'm tired of N doing that to K and J. I'm tired of picking him up to remove him from a public place, while being hit and yelled at. Some stranger yelled at N because N was punching me while I carried him out of the mall (and it was Mother's day). We have places for people that batter their children and their partners. But, we don't have places for children who batter their parents. It doesn't seem right.
It's been a while since I've blogged and I thought I should get some more out there. N takes us on a roller coaster ride. When we hit bottom, he starts to turn and goes to the top and behaves like an angel. I just wish the variance wasn't so high. About two weeks ago, I was so depressed; N was bullying everyone, including me. I didn't want to get out of bed. I had fantasies like 'Life would be so much better if N just disappeared.' I went to see the social worker at his pediatrician. She said that as long as I'm not planning a way to make N disappear or putting him in harm's way, that my thoughts were normal. Phew, that was a relief. However, it still didn't solve the problem. She did give me referrals for child therapists and after some arguing, child psychiatrists. It seems like everyone's practice is full. I got an appointment... in March. And, it's not even for N, it's for me and K! We have to go through this all over again! Why can't the medical community discuss it amongst themselves? Why can't my therapist, N's previous therapist, N's pediatrician, and N's potential therapist discuss it and leave me and K out of this? It feels so useless to explain everything all over again and not know if this potential therapist will be the right person. Will we have to do this again and again and again?
So, I mentioned roller coaster. OK, two weekends ago, K was out of town. Me and the boys went to some friends for dinner. Both N and J behaved wonderfully. I was so proud of N. He used his words and tried to play with others. Unfortunately, he was rebuffed, but he handled it as well as I could hope. He got mad and he said 'I hate you', but he didn't throw things or physically assault anyone. I think I was hurt by it more than he was. He even earned his 'How to be a Jedi' book. Now, he talks about being a jedi. I did have to take the book away for a few days though. He was pretty awful last Friday and I told him he could get it back sooner if he behaved more like a jedi.
Monday was a low frustration tolerance day. Lots of tantrums. He behaves like a two year old when it comes to emotions. He just can't understand why he can't get his way all the time. He's also exhibiting baby like behaviours, which he never did before. He likes to cuddle up with me and snuggle, and he does it like a 9 month old. I'm not sure how to explain it. My 6 year old also snuggles with me, but in a 6 year old way. When I cuddle with N it is more like I'm protecting him and keeping him safe, the way I would hold a baby. When I cuddle with J, it's more like a hug and its reciprocated. There is a part of me that is sad that it took so long for N to allow me to hold him like that. But, I am also greatful that I get the chance and I don't want to let it go.
We decided that the Ritalin just wasn't working. Since it was also interfering with N's sleep, we stopped giving it to him. One person suggested that we give him a coffee bean. The theory is that all the drugs to treat ADHD are stimulants and coffee is a stimulant. So, perhaps a coffee bean would do the trick. I got some chocolate covered coffee beans and we'll give them a try. We're at the point where we will try anything. We're even considering removing the gluten from his diet. I'm skeptical about that since breast milk is gluten free and the kid was like this from the start. But, we'll see. My husband is ready to take N to see a Naturopath. I have nothing against alternative medicine (when it actually works), but K is even more skeptical than I am. If K is ready to try it, it must be worth a shot.
I have determined that three things work to keep N occupied and out of trouble. 1. Videos 2. Leapster - he likes star wars math 3. Puzzles
Other than that, one on one attention where he gets to do whatever he likes works too. When I or the hubby have the time, we can take him to the book store or the science center or out on a date for lunch, etc... Staying at home with him doesn't usually work, because then he insists on watching videos and arguing over it just isn't worth it. The playground sometimes works, but usually he wants to do something that he is not ready for and he gets frustrated trying to do it over and over again. You have to give him credit for persistence!
Maybe the dosage isn't enough. Maybe it's not the right medication. But, it's not working. It's been a week and a half. It was hard to tell if the ritalin was having any effect because we were snowed in and had cabin fever. But, the kids have been out and about for several days now. I've made sure that N got exercise. His tantrums are as bad as ever. Yesterday, he destroyed books. Throwing books is fairly common for him. So far, that's the best outlet for his frustration. But, yesterday, he started ripping them. Today, he threw a framed picture and broke the glass. This afternoon, he threw his leapster and it is now broken. We just got him two games for Hannukah and he was really enjoying playing it. I'm so sad and tired and hopeless. I just want to cry. He is out of control. I am powerless over this situation, and searching and waiting for something to help is exhausting.
Friday was a really stressful day. The roads were a mess because of snow and ice. And, N had his annual check-up which I was not going to cancel. My plan was to beg to put him on meds and I didn't want to wait any longer. So, we took the bus. The boys drove me crazy. The bus is not a special thing for them since they ride it often. And, it was packed because bus service was cut in half due to the snow. And the local University (where I work and where the doctor is) stubbornly refuses to close. So, there were lots of people trying to get to work. The doctor visit was fine and she agreed with me that N is a perfect candidate for meds. However, the prescription was not easy to fill. We walked to two pharmacies, neither of which had it. I wanted to cry. Here I was, with a potential miracle cure in my hands, and I couldn't actually use it. It was so depressing. And the kids were absolutely crazy by this point. It was cold and we had to wait for the bus. They were yelling and whining. When we got on the bus, they wrestled. It was torture. When we finally got home, I turned on the DVD player. The roads had cleared by then, but the nanny couldn't make it. The local teenager, R, was available, so I hired her to watch the kids watch a movie so I could get to a pharmacy. I called ahead to make sure they had it. Of course, when I got there, they didn't have it. AAAARGH. However, we soon realized that I called a different pharmacy. So, I went there, shelled out approximately $100 and took the (potential) miracle cure home. The first day, he had two exhausting temper tantrums, threw things, hit, kicked, etc... Not sure that its kicking in. R (the local teenager), who we love and is wonderful with N, told us that she is on a similar med and that it took about a week for it to make a difference for her. Now, we have a better understanding of why she is so good with him. Thank heaven for small miracles. I'll post an update in a week or so.