Arrrrgghhhhh! For some reason, this week, my son has decided to ramp up the oppositional behaviours. He’s throwing pencils away (albeit a LOT less violently than he used to!) and closing his books and refusing to do his school work.
Now, I’ve trained myself reasonably well to deal with that sort of behaviour. I take a deep breath and keep composed because let me tell you for some reason the throwing of the pencils really, really, REALLY annoys me! I feel like just screaming at him every time he does it! That and the eraser. Drives me NUTS!!!!!
The other really frustrating thing is that we’ve been working through a practice year 2 maths book because although he was moving on to slightly harder stuff, I just felt that he didn’t really quite get it yet. So, the book basically goes through addition and subtraction with numbers 1 through to 20. The basics of fractions and multiplication and counting up to 100. He can do all this stuff, as he proves each day when he does it. However, every single day when I open the book and set it in front of him, he just says,
“I can’t do subtraction! Subtraction facts for number 12?! I can’t do that! I don’t have 12 fingers!” Then I’ll work on him a bit until he settles down. This involves him hiding under the table, throwing pencils (grrr), and shouting that he’s not doing it no matter what I do or say. Eventually he realises that I’m not going to give up and either I’ll set a timer which counts how much extra maths he’ll have to do in comparison to how much complaining he’s doing, or I’ll be giving him the silent treatment so he knows that I’m not interested in all the avoidance he’s displaying. He settles down, does the work (usually getting it all correct and completing two pages in less than 15 minutes), and it’s all good.
Then the next day, he repeats the entire procedure again!!! Each day I can’t believe that he’s doing it again. The same refusal, the same complaint. Like I said, I’ve trained myself fairly well to deal with all this kindly and patiently, however, it’s really starting to wear on me two weeks down the track! This of course all requires a large amount of my time and energy and patience, and I’m finding it a bit hard to stay awake in the afternoons!
Add to this the new eating plan I am trying to implement to counteract the weight gain caused by his medication, and we are all a little tired and grumpy!
We eat pretty well, with almost everything being home made, including most snacks and treats, but I think we’ve just been eating a little too much. My son is hungry all the time with the medication and it causes him to crave sugar and carbs (really useful side effect for a medication you give to people with mental illness right?!). Anyway, I’m ramping up the low GI, proteins and dairy, as well as reducing his portion sizes considerably. He’s not fat yet, but the rate at which he’s putting weight on is going to be come a problem for him soon. He already notices that when he sits down, his belly has a little roll that sits above his pants, and he hates it, because it makes his pants dig into him. I bought bigger pants, but he hates it all the same. This is a kid who was used to having a six pack previously, so I guess I understand where he’s coming from. Extra exercise and a good diet I am hoping will work, if not, I’m going to try a medication break to see how much he still needs it.
That’s the other thing I’m worried about. His Ritalin doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, and I suspect that he might need a higher dose now. There is also the possibility that his Risperdal dose needs increasing and that’s why we are starting to see his angry reactions back again. I hate that thought. I managed to accept the medications initially because the doses were so very low, and of course because they were really effective. If we have to increase the doses, I’m going to struggle with that. It will mean more meds around in his body, and possibly the side effects might increase too. That will mean more weight gain, or who knows what else?
Sigh, it’s an ongoing tale, that needs all the pieces to be working in unison all the time in order to get any ‘normalcy’. If anything drops the ball (parenting, meds, outside stresses), he kind of relapses. He doesn’t regress though so I guess I just have to keep at it and make sure we do it all for as long as we need to in order to give him a happy life.