You may be thinking to yourself, wtf is wrong with this chick calling a 5 year old a jerk? STOP immediately. I’ll explain. My son has always been a little out of control. People said he was “busy” and I agreed. Then he started preschool. Now bear in mind I am pretty antisocial so he didn’t get a whole lot of “playgroup time” around other kids his age so he wasn’t going to just go in and be Mr. friendly. I expected that. And damn he was smart. (Probably from all of the time he spent at home with me) When I was having good days, they were the best. He learned all kinds of new things and excelled at them. When I was having bad days we bonded emotionally. He would cuddle and just be my little buddy. But man was he busy. Constantly observing everything and figuring out what he could get into and getting into it. I was exhausted chasing him around the house and found it extremely difficult to discipline him in a way he understood. I thought we were just doing it wrong, maybe we were just bad parents. I beat myself up quite often because I would get so frustrated with him and no matter what we did, he just continued on. He was also pretty violent at times and had a pretty short fuse. Yes that is typical of younger kids but somehow this was different. Call it whatever you like but I think we had spent so much time together that I could tell when something was off. And something was definitely off. When he started preschool he was constantly in trouble for hitting, fighting, yelling and screaming when he didn’t get his way, and things of the like. In my mind I was trying to figure this out. Did he have autism and this was him being overstimulated? Was he bipolar? Did I do this to him?
Then I found out I was pregnant again. This threw me into the most severe depression I’ve ever been in. There was a lot going on at that point in my life (I’ll visit that later) and this was the tipping point. I did not know how I was going to be able to handle another child with the way my first one was acting. I couldn’t take him into stores, we couldn’t go out to eat, it was too exhausting. It was a constant battle of will and I didn’t have the energy to fight. There was a time when he took off at recess and shut himself in a locker and the teacher couldn’t find him. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to do. And by the way my husband isn’t absent in all of this. He works and I stay home so the majority of the day/night I am on my own. But he was always with me, if even just on the phone. So, here comes #2. The first few weeks were spent just constantly telling #1 to stop touching and be easy. I remember at the hospital when #1 first met #2 he asked if we could take him home and my heart just melted. I had a little more patience during those first few months and it was rough, but we got through it. I thought #1 would show out out of jealousy but it wasn’t nearly what I thought it would be. Then #2 started moving around and crawling and sitting up and all of the sudden #1 changed. He would get violent with the baby. Everyone said it was just jealousy but they didn’t see what I saw. When I would yell at #1 I could see his eyes were glazed over or darting around the room. He didn’t seem to comprehend that he did anything wrong. It was so impulsive. That’s when I decided we were in over our heads and needed someone with some expertise. So we went to a therapist. She watched them play and in that exact session #1 wrapped something around #2’s neck and she then suggested medication and a psychiatrist. Don’t get me wrong, I was not immediately for the idea of putting my 4 year old on medication. My husbands concern was that it was going to make him a zombie and I knew from experience that that was a real possibility. But we went. And we saw the psych nurse. And she said something I had knew but been in denial about all along. #1 had ADHD and needed medication. Not necessarily to make him easier to manage but to make sure he didn’t accidentally impulsively seriously hurt someone. Once #1 was diagnosed I did all of the reading I could. We had many talks with his teachers and his psych nurse deciding what was working and what wasn’t. I started to notice more. When I was yelling at him I felt like I was speaking to a brick wall and realistically I was because he didn’t have the ability to focus long enough to listen. And that thing he did 2 minutes ago that I’m punishing him for was already out of his mind and he was onto the next. All of those years of uncontrollable rage and the insane amount of guilt I felt was all validated. I wish to this day we would’ve accepted that he wasn’t acting normally earlier on and been able to spare us both unnecessary stress. But I know how it feels to be attached to a disease you can’t touch and they don’t really understand. At 4 it has to be tangible for them to understand and this wasn’t. The first medication he was on was a blood pressure med that made him sleep all of the time. It was awful. He was more controlled but only because he was tired all of the time. After many months of wait and see and adjustments we finally decided to try adderall. It has literally changed my sons life. He is currently in kindergarten and learned how to read in a week. He gets stamps almost every day and is just an overall happier child. And I am so proud of how brave he’s been. He has the greatest personality and I am forever grateful that he now has the ability to show that. Now if only I could get #2 (who is now 19 months old) in check. 😂
This was just a short rushed piece of the puzzle with #1. There are many more to come!