I’ve never considered myself a terribly patient person.
Determined? Yes. A hard worker? Definitely. Intelligent? God, I’d like to think so.
But patient? I just don’t know.
And yet, for the last 20 months (the length of time I’ve been with Rick and his kiddos), I hear that all the time. I always think, “Oh, if they only saw how impatient I am when less people are watching!”
I think we have an additional challenge in that not only do we have a child that’s ADHD/ASD, but he’s also the oldest child. He’s been the shot caller and the center of attention and the leader of the gang for quite a while. We’ve spent about a year now explaining to Ryan that – while Colin may be 7 months older – heis really the “big brother” in our house. That’s a difficult talk to have with a 6-7 year old kid, but he seems to get it. He has a little brother now and so now he’s stuck with the older brother role of needing to set a good example and the “middle child syndrome” feeling of not getting enough attention.
Whew, I’m rambling again.
I worry sometimes that patience is not like love. Love is limitless – just because I love your brother doesn’t mean I love you less and vice verse. But patience? Patience feels different. And I often worry that Rick and I use up all our patience on Colin and don’t leave enough for the other two.
Many times, we overcome this by using the divide-and-conquer method. One of us will take one kiddo to do something and the other will take the other two. We try to mix it up – it’s not as if we constantly single Colin out. Colin has a very different relationship with both brothers. Ryan is so used to him that he’s almost immune to his outbursts and odd expressions, etc. For the first 5 years of his life, Colin was Ryan’s litmus for “normal”. Robbie, however, gets frustrated with Colin often. Although, at almost 3 years apart, they both have that naive love of life and new things. Ryan is already getting a bit cynical in his “old age” and won’t watch Sprouts or Nick Jr or play with trains like the other two do. So we mix it up and it makes things easier.
I feel like this latest change in Colin’s meds is helping me renew a vow of patience. He’s off the Resperidone (as I mentioned in the last post) and we’ve decided to see how he does with just 20mg of Metadate CD in the AM (as opposed to 40mg). This is day 4 off Resperidone and day 2 on the lower amount of Metadate.
This morning, I told my husband that Colin seems to be getting goofier and goofier as the meds leave his system. He responded (via text on his way home from work), “Oh yeah? Good goofy or bad goofy or funny goofy?” I wrote back, “Funny goofy. Like ‘you’re a good day pickle’ goofy.” (This was one of Colin’s catch phrases about a year and a half ago. He said it to peole all the time. It’s kind of become a family compliment and we still use it from time to time, even though Colin doesn’t.)
Before Colin went on the Abilify (which was before the Resperidone), he used to say the most random things. He still did on the mood stabilizer, but not as often. I know the mood stabilizer was helping to even him out – take away the highs and the lows – but I think it also took away a lot of his joy. Over the last couple of days, he’s been laughing more. He’s always been very silly – he makes jokes no one gets and just cackles! I don’t know how to explain it. Over the last year, if I heard Colin laughing, the hair would go up on the back of my neck because it usually meant he’d just done something terrible. Now, he’s back to that laugh that tells you he just saw something that he thought was silly or he had a silly thought – it’s mostly harmless laughing. He’s more of a handful now on less meds, but he seems so much happier. And he’s SLEEPING. Did I mention he’s sleeping?
And you know what happens when HE sleeps more?? I sleep more!
And when I sleep more… I have more patience!
I’m not sure what the answers are just yet, but I think he’s doing well for now. As long as the horrific meltdowns don’t start back up again, we may be just fine in this groove. I can handle crazy happy Colin better than I can crazy angry Colin. I’d like to get us into the ABA therapy eventually – if we can combine that with less meds, we may find our sweet spot yet.