Snotty Sobs

I'm going to try and talk about what's going down with son because it's kind of eating me up these days. When I write in this blog I do try to stick to just telling my own stories. That way I'm the only that can get mad when I realize that everyone knows my scene. But the lines between my story and his story are kind of blurry. When I look at my kids it's like someone put the zoom lens on in my head. I really don't see anything but their beautiful faces looking up at me. So worrying about son is overshadowing my view of everything. And I can feel it weighting me down into the depths of crappymotherhood. So I'm hoping I can get this off my chest and breathe a little easier, but do so in a way that respects his privacy. Here goes.

Son's just been having a hard time of it this year. He's been sporting these big, black shiners under his eyes all the time. He seemed run down and whiny often - but in that way that kids get when they're sick. I admit we hoped that after his adenoid/tonsil surgery the relief from constant sinus infections would restore him. Bring back our bright and sunny guy. But my mommy gut knew that there was going to be something more going on. However, I told mommygut that she's often been wrong since she started hanging around with myanxiety and to stuff it.

And at first he seemed to feel so much happier. He was sleeping better and eating more too. But those darn shiners just wouldn't go away. And I hated them because they look like he hasn't gotten enough care, or that he was sad. And then he started to say quite often, "I feel sad and I don't know why." (Mmm? What's that sound? Oh that's just my heart smashing to the floor - let me get a broom and clean that right up.)

He's also been having difficulty at school. And trouble with social situations that should just be a 5 year old good freaking time and they aren't for him. So we decided to go see someone about it. A someone that had a PHD but no access to a prescription pad. As a permanent resident of The Valley Of The Dolls I obviously have no objection to meds. I have in fact a great affection for them. But we're not going that route unless we've tried everything else we can. However, if it comes to that it will be as a relative once said "The new normal" and we'll do it and get on with it.

Before we went into see this someone we filled out a huge patient history for son. Going over it with husband was a kick in the head let me tell you. The form spent about 5 pages asking about the state of mind of the mother during pregnancy and the birth experience. Um, nuts - check. 18 hours of failed epidural, pictocin hell - yup, check again. So we were quite nervous as we drove to the appointment.

But when we arrived at the someone's office it was actually a great relief. She was warm, and bright and so good with son. She taught him how to breathe deeply with a little container of bubbles. And to pretend he had those bubbles with him if he ever got too upset. Overall everything went extremely well. Though I did continue my great tradition of bursting into random snotty sobs with Doctors. I think if no one ever asked me "How are you doing" in times of crisis I would be OK. But if I'm holding it all together that always busts my dam. When my sister in law Sally called me after daughter was born, she would start the conversation with that phrase and I would just burst into tears and have to hang up. Though she could have been just fucking with me after the third call.

As I went over son's history of sleep, high energy and medical issues it became clear the he was a super bright, super awesome, super big handful. And getting an educated guide, someone to help the whole family figure out how to get him on track wasn't such a daunting idea anymore. We all left the office feeling tired, but relieved and hopeful.

Then of course I found this poster on Etsy, and thought I would buy it and frame it for son. And then husband wanted to know why the hell I was snotty sobbing over the keyboard.


Kathi D said...

I'm glad you are feeling some relief over the son situation! It does help to have another viewpoint, doesn't it?

It sure sounds a lot like ADD to me (keeping in mind my complete lack of a medical degree). The "feeling sad and not knowing why" part sounds awfully familiar to me, also the sleep issues, etc. But who am I telling, you know the drill!

I am sure he is a terrific kid! It just hurts like hell to have a hurting kid and not knowing quite what to do. I'm glad your "someone" is a positive, nurturing sort.

Kathi D said...

P.S. That "how are you doing" gets me every time, too.

Jennifer said...

I think it does help to have an outside view of what's happening. I hope this gets Son on the road of happiness.

Are you guys sticking with the Someone for a little while?

marianne said...

School asked us to have our son tested for ADHD in kindergarten, and I had a gut feeling that "something" was wrong, but that wasn't it. We made appointments with a university based pediatrician who is wonderful. He suggested that it may be anxiety presenting as the ADHD symptons, suggested a good dose of protein for breakfast, and now - halfway through 1st grade, we settled on 18 mg of strattera (ADHD treatment, but the only 1 in it's class) and a liquid antihistamine at night to help him get sleep- 10mg Atarax.
These have greatly helped, not solved, but certainly mitigated both bahavioral issues, reduced constant anxiety and generally evened things out. He still complains that no one wants to play with him at lunch time, but I believe that's cause he creates such convoluted castles in his mind that no one else can keep up.
Nothing seems to hurt like anxiety over your children, it's normal, but sometimes the combo of time, and good medicine mitigates it all.

Your poster find is absolutely correct.

Lotta said...

We are sticking with that someone till we figure this out - so def. awhile. I get confused about the ADHD diagnosis. Just based on behavior I would say, oh yes. And his hyperactivity is certainly getting worse. The thing that makes me pause before going fully into ADHD is that when he is able to quiet play. Though I admit it is getting less and less so.

Husband is SO anti-meds for kids I fear the battle I will have if it comes to this. These things are marriage breakers sometimes.

Gretchen said...

I don't quite know what to say. Thanks so much for sharing with us... Big hugs!

Undomestic Diva said...

Good for you for trusting your mama instincts... it's hard for a lot of parents, especially dads it seems, to admit they should take their child to see someone... at least to make sure things are OK.

And I also in the mindframe that you do everything else possible first before considering meds. (Mostly because I feel that way about meds myself... I have a hard time finishing a z-pack.)

~Diet Goddess~ said...

Lotta...I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers! It's so hard when one of your kids is suffering.

Extremely condensed version of my story - went to see a counselor for an issue with youngest son, ended up staying for more sessions for behavior issues with oldest son. Counselor kept insisting ADHD; I fought the "label" like a hopped-up crack whore looking for her next hit (nice imagery, huh?). Counselor gave me lots of reading material because I like to base my OWN opinions; finally accepted he may be right. Tried many, many, many alternatives until meds were the only thing. Fought meds like that hopped-up crack whore we saw earlier. Cried. Cried some more. Wailed even. Stopped short of rending my garments though... hmmm. Finally agreed to meds on a TRIAL basis. Six years later, he's still on meds because they actually helped him become a normal child.

Second child started having problems in school this year. Went right to our pediatrician, started evals for ADHD, got diagnosis of ADHD, started on Daytrana patch. Grades went from Cs and Ds to As and Bs.

If this is the problem your son is facing, meds may not be the cure-all for him, so please know I'm not trying to get you to run out and buy a barrel of Ritalin, but if you need an advocate when it comes to convincing hubby, I will be glad to do so. I understand his point of view. I was there myself once upon a time.

Good luck, sweetie! Sorry for the "short" story. Could you imagine if I told you the whole thing? OMG!

SAHM I AM said...

Wow. I'm sorry your son is struggling with this and that you feel so helpless. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.
I have a niece who was diagnosed with mild depression and anxiety at a very young age - around 8. She's a teenager now and is so tuned into her body, that she tells her mom when she "doesn't feel right and the meds aren't working." Then they make an appt. with her dr. and see where to go from there. I know adults who have to hit rock bottom before they can admit that. So an early diagnosis of something may be more helpful for your son in the long run.

Kevin Charnas said...


BRAVO and BRAVA!! to all of you for your courage.

When I read your comment last week in regards to me and Will seeking counseling, and how someone had thought it "extreme" that you guys were seeking some help, it really pissed me off.

People are not just uneducated and ignorant anymore. Those words are too nice. They're stupid. And they're intellects are stunted,...retarded actually.

Harsh words? Maybe. But, I'm tired of stupid people ruling mass opinions.

So, I'm immensely proud of you guys...for being courageous and progressive and smart...for TRYING.

jakelliesmom said...

Dearest Lotta,

I hope the poster hangs where you can see it, too. Keep fighting the good fight for your boy, I know you will find an answer. I wish you all so much happiness now and always.

I also wish I had an answer or helpful anecdote, I only know that when my boy was having a tough time, it wasn't a lot of the things people wanted to tag on as labels.


IamSusie said...

My son has been on Ritalin since he was 5 and it helps so much. My son has a sensory processing disorder. The ritalin only makes him more calm and less implusive. It doesn't help his other anxieties. It simply makes it easier for him to attend to the teachers and speech and occupational therapists who've worked work with him over the years. We only do the ritalin on school days. The side effect for him is that he doesn't feel like eating while the medication is in his system, but makes up for that on evenings and weekends.

Good for you for seeking help! I find that professionals are so supportive and can really give a great boost. It seems that when we are feeling confident about how things are going it is reflected back by my son. These therapists can give your son that same boost of confidence and they know how to handle anxious moms and dads!

As you get going with him through school you'll find that there are so many kids with various challenges and you are not alone. I recall one speech therapist telling me how well my son was doing after several years of interventions. I knew how right she was and I burst into tears with relief right there in the school hallway.

Jen said...

Hugs to you and your special guy.

I know the decision to medicate is a tough one (I went through it myself with my son) but I know from experiance it can be the right one. One way or another, I hope your son is feeling better soon. You've already made the right firt step!

Kathi D said...

I can't stop thinking about you and your boy--just wanted to say that since I was diagnosed with ADD I have become a student of it and have read everything I can get my hands on. I would highly recommend you get any of Dr. Ned Hallowell's books. He has some that are specifically for and about children. He is a Harvard psychologist and has ADD himself. He is pro-drugs when they work--he himself is in the 20% of people they don't work for--but drugs are only one part of the picture and they aren't a cure (as you already know!). I love him because he promotes the idea that ADD is not all negative and talks a lot about the positive aspects of it.

I used to be one of those that was mildly horrified by the thought of people "drugging" their children, but that was before I experienced being "drugged" and I can see how it might have helped me as a child. I ended up with some severe anxiety and panic disorder problems in my 20's, and now I can see that it was all 100% caused by unknown and untreated ADD.

Multiple studies show that teens who have been treated for their ADD have far lower rates of recreational drug use than either "normal" kids or kids with untreated ADD who are trying desperately to medicate themselves (without knowing it).

Sorry for the loooooooong post, but I have become kind of an evangelist on the topic. Of course we still don't really know if that's the deal with your boy, although the ability to quiet play is not unusual, because ADD's can hyperfocus like crazy--I had to quit computer games cold turkey because I could ignore everything for hours at a time while I fed and clothed my Sims. To the point that my Sims were happy and healthy while I stunk of sweat, didn't eat or sleep! :)

I don't want to be stalkerish, but e-mail me any time, I am full of unasked-for advice and empathy!

Wendy said...

What a stressful situation - it's so hard to see your own child suffering - been there. Good for you for finding Someone for support.

The big black shiners suggest a health issue to me - allergies, mold exposure, mold allergy, or even gut yeast infection (I've had all of them). If he had antibiotics recently, especially if he had a long course, or multiple courses, yeast can overgrow in the gut and make you feel miserable, cranky, distractable, and unsocial. It's not obvious - a medical person has to think of it first. Anti-yeast meds can help. And there are many other conditions that could be making him sick - those are just the ones I have personal experience with.

Part of the maternal resistance to seeing his problems as ADD may be your intuitive sense that something's wrong with his health, something that'll just be covered up by drugs that only treat symptoms.

Probably you've already gotten 2nd and 3rd medical opinions, but if not, you may want to consider a fresh medical perspective before leaping into ADD-land. You may get there eventually, but like the poster above, you'll go through some process first, and you'll want to know you tried everything.

I love your blog, especially the passionate way you engage with your life, minute-to-minute, despite the painful aspects - been there, too. Son's situation is in good hands with such a devoted and engaged Mom.

Best wishes for you both.

Angelina said...

It never fails that when I haven't visited your blog in a while and I hop on over you have posted something completely relevant and personal for me. We are dealing with similar issues with our seven year old.

We have started with the school counselor and things have been improving but my gut says we need to get an evaluation with a PHD person. I have been reluctant to do it. I feel the way you do about medicating my child- I would like to try everything else first but I do believe that there are many children who benefit from medication so much that it's almost abuse to deny them the help.

My son is like a mirror and that's what freaks me out. I am so afraid for him. Better to help him now than to wait and hope for the best and wake up one day to a suicidal teen.

Take it all step by step. If there has been improvement so far then that means you are on the right track. Make sure the husband is as informed as you are all along the way and I think he'll want your boy to have the best possible experience with life and if gets rough for the boy the husband will surely want to find the best solutions for him.

You describing your son is like you describing my son. Spooky.

I'm so with you on this journey. Let's not let the mama heart break, instead let's find answers, solutions, and let our kids be who they are with every possible support!

(Hey, did someone press my 'cheesy' button before I woke up?! sheesh.)

Lotta said...

I just want you all to know I've read your comments twice over and they are so very helpful.

We are working hard not to jump to any conclusions or diagnosis. Just to take it a step at a time in the right direction for him.

The little dude has been through enough in life that it certainly could be anxiety. He was also a super busy (I hate the word hyper) and that resulted in some of the stuff he's been through. Like getting stitches twice before was 2.

When he was 18 months he crawled out of his crib and we had to move to a toddler bed. After (I'm not exaggerating) 120 walks back to the bed we gave up and laid by him. Had to hold him down with one arm till he gave in and passed out. He almost seemed to need to get to tears in order to let go. When he was a baby he would only sleep when he was in motion or if we swaddled him super tight and shook him like a paint mixer. Rocking, singing, baths all the normal soothers never worked. So those details nag at me when I try to write this off as a phase or diet issue.

But I do still love the suggestion about Yeast. Son was on antibiotics nonstop for his first 2 years of life. We had cut sugar out of his diet about 3 weeks ago to see if that would help. I'll head over to Wild Oats and get some children's pro-biotic supplements now too. It certainly can't hurt.

If I think too far ahead to his teenage years the impulse control bit freaks me out quite a bit. It was something I struggled with and I didn't have the high energy that he did. But again, just trying to take deep breathes and figure it out.

The good news is that we are a happy family. And he's only 5. There is no divorce, or other trauma in the family. We're not comfortable - but we can live week to week with a reasonable amount of middle class $ stress. No major issues there. So we're working from a great spot and there is no reason why we can't figure this out.

My hope is we can help him have an awesome summer and he'll be ready to have a great kindergarten experience. Cross your fingers.

Anonymous said...

i will chime in with wendy and say that the shiners suggest a pathological (medical) aspect to son's issues (which sound complex, and may not be due to any one problem). i went to a doctor recently for my own shiners that no amount of sleep seems to dissipate, only to be told that these indicate allergies, perhaps food allergies. i am glad you are taking him to one kind of doc, but you might want to take him to an allergist, too. hope you don't mind my saying... hang in there!

Lotta said...

Anon - and others. Re: allergies.

We actually have seen an allergist and an Ear Nose and Throat guy. The adenoid/tonsil operation was a last resort after trying a billion different medicines and nose sprays. And after experiementing with his diet.

If shiners were the only thing I would keep on this route. But I think that's only a part of what's going on with him.

Katrina said...

You are an amazing mommy to be brave enough to do something so hard for your son. It's scary calling in help and you handled it wonderfully. Little one will be just fine with a super mommy like you!

geelizzie said...

oh, that poor baby, it just breaks my heart when kids are feeling sick or sad-give him an extra cuddle for me!
now I'm gonna start crying too!

MnRooMom said...

Could you also be dealing with some sensory issues? The infancy stuff you described in the comments section sounds very familiar and in line with SID/SPD. Check out Tertia's blog, for really great info on that (put SID/SPD in the search bar). Also, my 6 yr old nephew was treated for a bit for ADHD. Turns out, treating for depression and going to a counselor were the fix that he needed. As you know, all the brain issues are SO related. You and your family are on my heart. Hang in there.

Caron said...

I work in a classroom for young learners with mental health issues. They are the coolest kids ever, they just need help to learn some of the skills your PHD person suggested.

Most of our kids are on meds. Some do really well, and some become little zombies half an hour after given their meds. I second the notion of checking out some alternative therapies first. If you can find someone who does EDS (electro-dermal screening) - it's FDA approved voo doo that has saved my ass.

Your son is lucky to have parents who recognize that he is a sweet and intelligent boy, and is so loved.

Lotta said...

mnroom - I've actually been talking with a friend who's son deals with sensory issues so that is interesting. I really like the woman we are seeing. She's going to be very thorough with her testing. So I'm trying to be his advocate but still trust in her process to figure this out too.

Caron - I'll check that out, thanks.

To all - thank you again for you sweet and kind support. Means the world!

IamSusie said...

My 11-year old son has shiners with the sensory issues and also has the same problem getting to sleep. Restlessness at night is supposedly one of the side effects of his Ritalin, but we know that he has always been like that since he was a young baby and it isn't any different during the summers when he's off meds. He's always more active when he is sleepy. This is related to impulse and motor control. It's like the sensory processing and the ADD sort of go together. Each child's problem is complex and individual, but many of us have dealt with similar challenges with our own kids.

My son handled the sensory processing problem by being overly cautious, but other children are the opposite. My son also could fall, be knocked over or be shaken very strongly and he always felt it was fun and not painful or scary like other children.

We actually don't worry so much about our son's shiners and just treat the sensory stuff.

When we were first starting out with the sensory processing issues when he was two, I got a helpful book: The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz. I can't say if the difficulties they describe in the book are the same things your son is dealing with, but it really rang true for us. Occupational therapy was the best thing we did for him early on. And the ritalin...

I hope I'm not writing too much in your comments!

Julie said...

Lotta, I'm in the camp of "test for food allergies/intolerances". My daughter has Celiac Disease, in addition to many other "issues" and after we found out and got her on a gluten-free diet, a lot of her behavior problems went away. Celiac disease can present in a lot of different ways especially through psychological problems. I think especially in kids, they feel so crappy all the time and don't really know how to express it, they get depressed and/or anxious. I totally don't mean to get all Tom Cruise on you, believe me, I'm all for giving medicine where medicine's due and better living through chemistry but knowledge is power and most tests for intolerances are just a blood draw.
Good luck, you're in my prayers hon.

jen duncan said...

'morning Lotta--Thought about you and Max this weekend and came over to check on you. Glad so many people are offering ideas and support. I know how much that must help. :-) Keep your chin up and follow your instincts.
xo, jen

Angelina said...

We know kids with sensory processing issues too and our Max has a lot in common with them which I find interesting. I think it's really good that you aren't rushing for a diagnosis because taking it slow means you will be more likely to sort out all the issues and come up with solutions that work without turning him completely upside down in the process.

Max was also never a good sleeper and even now his sleep life is not so hot. He has nightmares, is up at the butt-crack of dawn even when he hasn't slept well. I will say that the sleep issues have improved over time. They were the worst up until he turned five and after that they began to ease up a little. (he's seven now).

I feel like we're on the same journey as you are except we're a little behind you in getting help. I wish I hadn't waited so long to take my kid to a counselor. What I really need to do is find a really good PHD like you have done.

You give me courage.

katy (aka funny girl) said...

I'm feeling ya, sister. No advice, just empathy (or is it sympathy?)_...been there, done that. You're on the right track. Listen to the doctors, and then follow your gut.


Lisse said...

Well, now I'm crying. You made "asking for help" a lot less scary.

Lotta said...

Angelina - We're all giving each other courage. That's whats so awesome about blogging. Hugs to you!

Jen - Thanks for checking in, you are super sweet. Still having the same struggles but feeling MUCH better with a plan of action in place. We go to the Dr. again this Sat. (Oh, and it's "Mack")

All - Thanks for keeping bolstered!

Belle in Bloom said...

Oh gosh. You are me five years ago. People were telling me ADHD over and over again but my son could sit and play with toys, video games and we wouldn't hear a peep out of him. I could feel and hear him getting depressed. Started with a child counselor and moved onto a psychiatrist. We didn't turn to meds until he was 9yrs. He's been diagnosed Tourette Syndrome, but he has gotten so much better after taking him off of Focalin for ADHD. It's hell. Homework and school work kills him and me both. Then the child pulls off straight A's without the meds. WTH? I feel like my craziness (and my side of the family) has leaked into his DNA. We struggle a lot, but the good days are heavenly. I wish I could be a beacon of light for you, but we're still learning every single day. Good luck. You're such a good Mommy. You guys will figure it out. "You are so loved". That's what we tell our boys everyday. I hope it sinks in. ((hugs))

Grim Reality Girl said...

Prayers going up for you. I must say the story sounds familiar to me -- a lot like my little guy. One suggestion -- get a sleep study done on him (at a facility that is experienced doing pediatric sleep studies). I am walking down the sleep issue road with my son and I really regret not investigating sooner -- how could I have known though? Did you know that sleep issues quite often are misdiagnosed as ADD??? YIKES! Little people with sleep apnea (does he snore?) often are more hyper than tired -- kids are different than adults. Hang in there. Praying for you. Feel free to email me to discuss. I could not forgive myself if I didn't bring this up -- I really wish we had known sooner....

Angel said...

My daughters biological father has ADHD. I noticed you were talking a lot about that possibly being a problem so I thought I'd put in my 2 cents :)

I think every person reacts differently if they have it. As I said my ex had it and couldn't sit still for a moment. Would bounce back n forth on his feet while talking to me, yet he could sit for HOURS fishing. He was unmedicated, as well. While fishing, you'd never think he was ADHD at all. In the rest of his life, he's very active.

I am crossing my fingers for my daughter that she might not have to face a problem like that. She's already very active, even for a 3 year old.

I'll keep any left over fingers crossed for you with your son and hopefully he'll be doing much better without needing any medicine. :)

Gingers Mom said...

We've had our hands full with our son too. It is the hardest thing in the world. I'm glad you are getting help.

This and That said...

My son had the dark shiners and was generally unhappy. We found he was sensitive to regular milk. When we switched to acidopholis milk (I tried spellcheck on every combination of this word and all I got were dirtier and dirtier words) and he got better.

I would check into allergies if your medical insurance permits it.

Hang in there Lotta, you're doing a great job!

Wendy said...

Since you shared the additional info about Son’s insomnia and antibiotic use, I’m moved to make one more suggestion, though it cannot possibly profit me. (I’ve always wanted to use that line from Casablanca) :)

Chronic Lyme Disease can show up in different ways in each person, it is not accurately detected by lab tests that are currently available, and it often appears in people who’ve never seen a tick bite or the stereotypical bullseye rash. Most doctors who treat it effectively with antibiotics are found outside the mainstream of medicine because traditional malpractice-suit-avoidant docs won’t treat without positive lab results. Usually docs who do treat Lyme have Lyme themselves, or someone they love has Lyme, and they have seen the need to treat it.

Recent research suggests Lyme might be passed from person-to-person through sex (the bug that causes Lyme is a cousin to the syphilis bug, both spirochetes), or from mother to child during pregnancy. After you’ve had Lyme for a year or more, it’s considered chronic, and it has spread throughout the body, often attacking the heart, or brain & nerves, rather than just the joints, as we’ve come to expect.

The symptoms can vary widely, and can include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, agitation, depression, nerve problems, gut and digestion problems, bladder irritation, unexplained weight gain, light or sound sensitivity, fatigue, and sugar cravings (the Lyme bug consumes a lot of sugar). One fourth of people with Lyme are children. Perhaps they contract it during pregnancy, or from ticks in the yard, or ticks on pets. has good info under Lyme 101.

When I first read your blog about your own struggles with depression and anxiety, I thought of Lyme, and now as I re-read about your Mom’s panic attacks, I think of it again. It seems to have been passed through four generations in my family, and I am the only one who has been treated. Around the 3rd or 4th week of antibiotics, I experienced complete relief of the overwhelming anxiety and depression that had been my constant companion for many, many years. Physical symptoms are clearing gradually for me - my bladder irritation, headaches, insomnia, pain, fatigue, joint problems, nerve pains, sugar cravings, and other symptoms are subsiding.

Perhaps Lyme is not your problem, or Son’s, but it is surprisingly common, and treatable.

Best wishes with finding your own answers, whatever they are.

Natalie said...

Wow, you got a lot of feedback here. So good to have a safety net and support. I feel your pain, since 2 (maybe 3) of my 4 have some degree of autism. I have read several articles linking dark eye circles as being allergy related, and more and more studies are revealing correlations between diet and behavior... I mention this because we have seen huge improvements with diet changes.

"You are So Loved..." we should all have this reminder.

Julie in NJ said...

Lotta, long time reader, first time poster (I think...)

I think you are right to be cautious, and to investigate every road you can if that is what makes it work for you. Nothing in the world beats mom intuition, and if you think that something else is up, maybe it is.

My story is different, but in some aspects the same. I have an almost 8 year old son who does not have ADD or any of the related issues. What he did have was the same sleep issues, which honestly he didn't start sleeping throught the night until he was 6. Now he pees maybe once a week due to such dep sleep, go figure that he would ever sleep deeply. But the climbing out of crib, mattress on the floor, having to hold him down and the unable to have him go to sleep unless he had the "cry" is SO spot on. I was 7 months pregnant wrestling with a 2 1/2 year old and felt so MEAN to have to hold him in a bear hug intently to make him cry so he could go to sleep. He crawled at 5 months, RAN at 9 months. Everything early. Broke his nose at age 2 :) (no stiches though). Constant ear infections. Constant ear drum ruptures until tubes and adenoids at 4 (He never had cluid build up inbetween, just ravaging infections that would go away). I took him to chiropractors even. ALWAYS sick, with anything that existed. 105 fevers. The black circles. I used to be maudlin and tell people if it was the 1600's he'd never have survived.

Sensitive and introverted. Wanting so bad to join in but can't. Still, to this day, major anxiety about new things. First day of baseball, etc. Things he WANTS to do. So many things he, in the past, reufsed to participate due to anxiety but would have LOVED (science classes afterschool, boy scouts, birthday parties in new places, etc). Anger outbursts/emotion that almost is a smokescreen for the "real issues" behind it - sometimes it takes investigating to figure out what the problem REALLY is.

Anyway. He hasn't ever had the depression or sadness, but he does have anxiety. Its part of his temperment. BTW, I'm a nutjob undiagnosed ADD and a lifer on meds for depression and anxiety, which for me manifests itself in irriation and agitation. I too had a similar labor, blah blah. I have been close to talking to a counselor for him in the past, because I want so bad for him to be carefree. I want him to be able to jump in with a group of running boys without it being such a big deal. I want him to have a sleepover, or join clubs, etc. without it having to be SO HARD for him. It has taken him until January each year to agree to playdates with new classmates. Hell, I even would be happy if he would try a different brand hot-dog roll sometimes, too.

Time has helped. Maturity has helped. Letting him be while at the same time pushing him has helped (for example, telling him I have to babysit a classmate vs. it being a real playdate to "break him in"). Being accepting, and really for me learning that hs is who he is and I can't change him, and learning to REALLY accept him for who he is and not push him where he is not ready has helped ME alot - and giving myself permission to be frustrated and not act like certain outbursts and behaviors don't bother me, but at the same time giving myself permission to indulge his anxiety at times.

I try hard to hear the real message behind his outbursts/anxiety. He needs to know alot - alot of backgound info and be prepped way in advance - things like doctor visits, new shoes, or parties requiring particular clothing often need to be prepped more than one month in advance. Sometimes it is exhausting and I want to just shake him and so "can't you just go have a good time ?"

Good things? His immune system is apparently mature now because he is never sick anymore, except for the yearly summer round of strep throat he and his sister pass around. He has always been extremely thin and wiry, and for the first time he is out of slim pants. He is bulking up. He participates willingly in sports of his choosing, and has even tried an afterschool club this year. He was diagnosed this year with a writing disability and dyslexia and submitted to the testing with minimal drama. He also has anxiety regarding schoolwork, but has tested as a very, very bright child and I think that he and we have come to a new level in our relationship because we promised him we would figure out why he has such a hard time with writing and spelling, and we would find a way to help it not be so hard for him. And he trusts us. Which is a big step for him. We have encouraged his interests, and indulged him ridiculously by arranging vacations that he would like (for example, to see the Mayan ruins because he is interested in that culture, astronomy, and architecture). We've discovered he is a GREAT traveller and planner, and he is a fabulous sightseer. Something about planning trips and using maps overcomes his anxiety regarding new places/things. He's actually a very funny little kid, and he's sweet and loving and very kind.

Anyway, I'm just sharing, incase anything I have to say gives you an insight or help. I have been where you are, that overwhelming guilt/fear for them, and it sucks. But you need to stay your course, and trust your instincts even if you become over-absorbed and obsessed, because you won't rest or feel comfortable until YOU know you have done all you can.

(((hugs))) What a hard flipping job.

Julie in NJ

Hetha said...

There is a lot of feedback here and I've no time to read it, but I'll bet it great and I hope that writing this post was helpful in some way. I think there is a lot to be said for the cathartic effect of writing about our helps us to confront it from a pretty grounded place. You sound really grounded and bright in your outlook, though I know it's not necessarily how you are feeling.

He's not allergic to dairy or any other foods is he?