Primal crying with no apparent cause: this is a sign that our kid is completely exhausted. This happened last night. Routine tasks that normally wouldn’t be difficult for him to complete become monumental and end with crying, whining, or frustration. Examples from yesterday:
1) We say, “Daddy’s 40th birthday is on Friday.” Two seconds later, we ask, “Why is Friday special?” He has no idea. Now, I don’t need special recognition on my birthday, especially from a self-centered 10 year old (the former being implied from the latter). But it’s not a simple, “I don’t know,” but a HUGE ordeal complete with crying, sucking on his shirt, and banging on the table.
2) He wants to watch TV. That’s fine. Normally, he bounds up the stairs and turns on the television. When it’s time for bed, we call him down and all is good. Not last night. He’s whimpering in says that it’s “really dark up there” even though the lights are on. He can’t even manage to operate the remote!
The night ended with him being too tired to get into bed on his own. We had to walk him through the house, put him on the toilet, help him change into his PJs, pick him up and place him in the bed. Even then, he cried for 30 minutes, sobbing out of control.
The overall lesson here: make sure your kiddo gets enough sleep. And make sure you get enough sleep 1) to handle the “I’m too tired to function” issues that are likely to arise and 2) to appreciate how comical an overtired child can be!
I suppose there’s no way for me to relay all the amazing and irritating things that have transpired in the last several months. This is why keeping this blog up to date is so important. But parenting eats up all my time these days. Dates with my wife are spent talking about our son. Days at work are spent working to make $$$ for our son. He’s all-consuming.
Here are a few things I remember from the last week:
He loves summer camp. But when we said last night that it was his last day of camp, he said, “Yay!” So we’re not sure what that’s about.
I was heading for the bathroom the other day. He was standing in there preparing to brush his teeth. He said, “Sorry, daddy, but the bathroom is already took-en.”
We have a deal with him: he’s allowed to sit in the front seat of the car, but only if he keeps his hands off all the buttons and stuff. But the other day, he was rifling around the glove compartment. Mom reminded him of the deal, and he said, “But I’m trying to learn stuff to keep the family safe. Like what if the radio catches on fire?!”
Our family has expanded to include Angel, the police officer, and Tyler, the pirate. These are our son’s new puppets. The puppets say things that our son would never say on his own, and refer to our son in the third person. For example, a puppet said, “I hate cats!” Now, it’s evident that our son does not like cats – they take too much attention away from him – but we had to hear it from the puppet.
He wanted to purchase the song “My Girl” by Mindless Behavior. We did, and THEN listened to they lyrics. “She hit me all the time…” – does this seem appropriate for a kid who grew up with a physically abusive mother? Or any kid? Well, no worries! UrbanDictionary.com informed us that “hitting” is actually “calling” (or “phoning”).
So, those are the updates for now. Cheerio!
Our son never wants to relinquish his clothes to the laundry. Not sure why. So, the other day, he insisted that his undershirt was not dirty, when it very clearly was. (It stunk and it had miscellaneous smudges on the front.) He was adamant that I not wash it and that I let him wear it tomorrow. He basically melted down into a tantrum at the same time that I did. I took his shirt into the kitchen, opened the fridge, took out the sriracha, and squirted it all over the front. I took it back to his room, tossed it to him, and said, “There, now it’s dirty.”
He got VERY angry! He stomped through four rooms to the bathroom where we keep the dirty clothes hamper. Unfortunately (for him), we had moved it for a house showing. So, he had to stomp all the way back. It was hilarious for me to watch, but it didn’t take long for me to get embarrassed of my behavior. There’s a reason he doesn’t want to give up his clothes, something related to his past, I’m sure. He’s similar with food: doesn’t want to eat it because he’s full, doesn’t like its taste, etc., but gets upset if someone else does. It’ll remain a mystery for now.
Ever since our son told us of a recent dream where his adult, female cousin, wearing nothing but her underwear, was chasing him, we’ve been preparing to chat with him about the so-called birds and the bees. We got a book at the local library – Amazing You – which has plenty of cartoon drawings of penises and vaginas. Our family therapist recommended we read it to him, and then leave the book in his room to explore on his own.
He was so embarrassed when we opted to read Amazing You versus our standard Charlotte’s Web. But I have to say: this is one of the first times he actually paid attention during the reading of the bedtime story. He got grossed out with the diagram of the uterus and fallopian tubes, and seemed fascinated by the drawing of the baby to adolescent to adult progression for both males and females. (It’s actually this latter drawing that he decided to show the babysitter when she showed up last night so mom and I could go on a date.)
At the end of the book, there’s a drawing of a kid and his dog in front of the mirror. The text reads, “Take a look again in the mirror. What do you see?” Our son exclaimed, “My dog!” which was funny and really helped eased any tension. Overall, the conversation went really well. He isn’t ready developmentally to learn the circumstances under which egg (usually) meets sperm. (The book said that that happens when a man and woman love each other and decide to have a baby.)
We got another, more-comprehensive book that isn’t quite appropriate yet, although it does talk about adoption, so we will read that part with him in the coming week. (Adoption is two weeks from today!) Our plan is to incorporate a discussion about body variation when reading this other book, as this, like every other text we’ve seen, falls short when it comes to discussing intersex or transgender people.
In visiting with friends last week, we had an opportunity to talk with Mindy who has a background in nursing and now studies Chinese herbal medicine. We talked about our son’s ADHD and she suggested two things as a place to start: fish oil and the Rescue Remedy line of products.
The fish oil she recommended was the straight-up DHA kind. I take fish oil every day, so it was no biggie to think about giving it to our little boy as well. For the Rescue Remedy, Mindy recommended the spray and the pastilles, but we ended up with the spray and gum instead. He loves the gum, which we only let him chew when the effects of the pharmaceutical medicine has worn off. (I’ve been using the spray myself when parenting gets just a little too stressful!)
What was really amazing is what happened when we made an appointment with a well-respected psychiatrist. He is known to treat the whole child, rather than simply doing what most doctors do: shove medicine down their throat and call it good. In our initial conversation, he asked what we currently do to treat our son’s ADHD. He was impressed about our use of fish oil and Rescue Remedy, both products that he also recommends. It’s nice that a psychiatrist borne from the Western tradition would adopt some “alternative” strategies.
Also, in a few weeks, in addition to the meeting with the new psychiatrist, we are going to explore acupuncture as an alternative treatment for our son’s ADHD symptoms. My acupuncturist just received specialized training for pediatric patients and is adding this to her current practice.
So, we’ll see how all this goes. Ideally, our little one wouldn’t take any medicine, but would have his ADHD symptoms controlled through lifestyle (consistency and a predictable schedule), diet (organic food that’s low in sugar and gluten), and these fish and flower oil supplements.