This week was just a crazy up-and-down-roller-coaster of a week. On Monday Bear and I took a trip to the specialist for a follow-up on his new anti-depressants. I wasn't sure I had really noticed any difference in his anxiety levels, but it can take up to six weeks for anti-depressants to kick in and it hadn't yet been six weeks. The last time we were there Bear refused to go into the waiting room because people might look at him (we waited in the hall for an hour), so I knew this appointment would be a good test. And boy, was it ever.
Despite the fact that the waiting room was empty, Bear refused to go in. The doctor was on time, so all we had to do was walk through. For the record, this was our third or fourth visit to this particular doctor, so it wasn't exactly unknown territory. Well, he freaked. And when I say freaked, I mean freaked. I had to hand all my stuff to the receptionist to take to the examining room and then pick him up and carry him in. That wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the fact that 40lbs of kicking, screaming, writhing, scratching, biting (oh yes...biting) Bear is very difficult to carry without dropping. My poor baby. It was really heart-breaking. The only good thing was that it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the medicine wasn't working at all. Whether or not to change anti-depressants suddenly became a very easy decision for all involved, so now he's on something new.
Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to go off without a hitch, to the point where I wondered if I had any right to write a blog about having a child with ODD. ODD? What ODD? Then came Thursday, and all hell broke loose. Homework resulted in my being punched in the stomach. Granted, that's probably more the ADHD than the ODD, but they pretty much go hand-in-hand. That was the first time he's punched me like that (normally he kicks, hits, pinches, or throws something), and I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed by the fact that he punched me or the fact that it didn't really upset me. On one hand yay me that I didn't fly off the handle, but on the other hand...wow...how "normal" has his behaviour become to me that being punched in the stomach by my six-year-old doesn't freak me out.
Friday was a good day for him, and his teacher even sent a note home saying he had had a really good week. I just love how everyone involved at his school seems to root for him. It's really heart-warming.
Then along came today, and a much-anticipated birthday party -- except he decided he wasn't going. This is typical Bear, but only for about the last six months. His anxiety gets the worst of him and he just can't bring himself to go. The good thing is that not only are we starting to recognize the signs, but so is he. Fingers in the mouth are a tip off, that's for sure. But whereas three months ago asking him what was wrong used to send him right over the edge and even into a violent rage if we pushed too hard, now he's starting to talk about it. This morning when I asked him if he was scared, he said yes. That was progress. We haven't pushed him to go to other birthday parties or to do things that scare him despite the advice of the well-meaning, and I think that has paid off. He now trusts us when we say we're not going to make him do something, so he's willing to talk about it. In the past he would shriek "You're just trying to get me to go!!!" when I tried to question him.
The one thing I did insist on today was that we go buy a present for his friend and deliver it, but I stressed that he didn't have to stay. He was OK with that, and then added on his own that maybe he could stay if he decided to. So that was our deal. Get ready for the party, go buy the present, go deliver the present, and only stay if you want to. And lo and behold, he wanted to! He did ask me to stay with him, although rather casually, so I told him I couldn't because I had an appointment to get my hair cut (I wasn't lying). I did promise him that I would come back as soon as I was done, though, which I did. I got a flying hug when he saw me, but then I was informed that I could go.
Yay, Bear!!! You go, my angel! This is real progress and I'm hoping it's a sign of better days to come. Just the fact that he's beginning to talk about how he's feeling opens up a world of opportunity to help him.
You know, when your child has ODD, you often end up as the enemy. Kids with ODD take everything personally, so they see anything you do (like make them sit down for supper) as an attack. It was a really nice to feel like his ally for a change.