Tag Archives: patience

Keeping a Close Eye

Just like most moms, I worry about my kids.  I worry about their social interactions, bullies, etc.

I worry more than usual – for good reason – about Colin.

Whenever we’re in a social situation with other children, I can’t help but keep a close eye on him – not just because I worry about him running off to chase something sparkly, but because I am acutely aware of his surroundings.  With adults, I’m usually more concerned that Colin with bother someone with his incessant questions and non-sensical “conversations.”  Around children, I worry he will be made fun of, misunderstood…possibly hurt.

Children don’t have the filters and patience that most adults do.  One time at an indoor pool, Colin was pestering some kids who were trying to play a little game of water basketball.  At one point, one of the kids backed into him, essentially pushing him out of the way.  He had this look in his eye that said one more annoyance would likely get an even worse reaction. 

Colin doesn’t understand those looks. He has no idea when he’s pushing someone’s buttons.  I swooped in and pulled him away from that group of boys before things got worse.

Last night, we went to a local Independence Day celebration.  There was a band playing, a bounce house, kids playing on the playground – it was a great night.

At one point, I saw Colin go up to an older boy – I think he must have been somewhere between 13-14 years old – and start asking a million questions.  The kid had a smile on his face and I thought, “Oh, great – he’s about to be told off, probably made fun of. I hope he backs off when that happens and he doesn’t push the issue!”

But something else happened.  This kid started playing with Colin.   On a playground covered with roughly 40 kids, these two seemed to understand each other.  He let Colin boss him around and laughed at his jokes.  He’d wander off for a while and then come back to the playground for long stretches. 

I don’t know where his parents were – maybe he was there alone – or what his story was, but he definitely seemed a little “different”.   I actually thought he looked familiar…then had to laugh at myself when I realized why.  He looked like a young Jessie Misskelley (of the “West Memphis Three“), minus the crazy hair.

He wandered back over to us just before the fireworks started.  Colin was sitting next to him and they shared a few laughs and talked about the fireworks as they went off.  Then Colin looked at him and said, “Can I sit in your lap?”

Ugh.

I called out to Colin that it was inappropriate to ask that.  I felt bad interrupting their momentary friendship, but I knew this boy was enjoying Colin’s company – he had made a friend that didn’t think he was “different” – and he would probably have gone along with whatever Colin asked.  No matter how innocent their friendship was, my 8 year old sitting in the lap of a stranger just made me uneasy. 

When I called out to him, he got up and came over to hear what I’d said – the explosions overhead made it difficult to hear.  That was the end of their exchange.  Colin sat/stood/played near us through the rest of the show.

The boy got up and walked off quickly after the fireworks ended.  I wanted to say something to him.  I wasn’t sure what.  “Thank you for being nice to my boy,” just didn’t seem like enough.

There’s not enough kindness in the world.  You realize that even more when you have a child with special needs – one that doesn’t quite “fit in”.  I find myself wanting to thank people for acting human and decent.

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Patience

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.