messy. crazy. amazing. joyful.

We're not all officially ADHD. Dad's unofficial. Our ten-year-old twins have ADHD. Our seven-year old wants to have it because everyone is always talking about it. Our three year old has ADHD--just because she's three. And me, Mom, I think it's contagious. Who can remain untouched in a house where shoes seem to be lost every morning, instructions are routinely thrown aside, and fights erupt over which continent capybaras come from?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We Need Tranquilizers, Not Stimulants

So sweet, funny, fun, and creative most of the time but inflexible and insatiable some of the time.

I haven’t written for a while because all I want to say is “aaaaaaaaah” again. We’re trying Focalin, and I don’t think it’s working for either of my kids. There seems to be a lot of screaming and whining these days. Loud screaming, sent-to-the-room-to-scream screaming. And teasing and fighting and poking and pushing and wrestling and horseplay ending in tears. I don’t think this can be caused solely by the transition from school to summer.

We started on a very low dose, half a 5 mg capsule, and for about a week we’ve had worse than average behavior. Two days ago we moved up to one pill a day to see if that worked better. That seems to have made Luke wake up at 4:30 am. So the lack of sleep did not help today. Falling on the floor whining at any request—to get a chore done, to get clothes on, even to come for lunch. Oh, it is so exhausting for me, and it seems exhausting for him too. Izzy is going from anxious family policewoman to constant Gestapo girl. She is stressed about every situation.

How is it that stimulants are not working for either of my kids? I’ve read that stimulants do not work for 20% of people with ADHD, but it seems strange that they have not worked for either of them, especially since they have four cousins who do well on stimulants. Our psychiatrist feels that their anxiety comes from their problems dealing with ADHD symptoms, but I’m starting to wonder if anxiety is their primary problem. Maybe we should try meds for anxiety? I don’t know, so we’ll just keep trying.

We are also working on a new reward program. It is all on the computer (and it is free). So far they like it. Izzy said it was fun just because they are allowed to log on to my laptop. It is a little complicated to set it up, but once it is set up it’s great. You set up chores, give each chore a point value, and then set up rewards that they can earn with their points. Chores and rewards are already programmed in or you can create your own. Check out if you are interested. I’ll tell you how it goes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Assignments and Hanging Out with Cousins

This sweet looking boy is the perp.

Aaaaaaaaaaaahh. That’s how I feel. I knew the magic would end when we were supposed to implement our new “plans” and the kids did not magically become un-impulsive, un-explosive, un-screamy, un-cry-ey, un-losing stuff, and all sorts of other things for which words don’t really exist except in my brain.

I have three main assignments to work on to begin with. One, add stimulants to Luke and Isabelle’s meds. Two, find a counselor outside the school who will work with all of us, family counseling, parent counseling, child counseling. Three, set up a rewards and “mild discipline” program at home and work on behaviors one at a time.

So for one, we are adding Focalin to their meds. (Both are already on Intuniv.) We are trying them on a super low dose since they have not done well on any other stimulants. Each is taking half a 5 mg capsule. We open the capsule and give them each a few of the tiny little “balls” inside, which apparently taste really “yucky.”  Day 1 of Focalin and Luke was tears, tears, tears and Izzy was talk, talk, talk. Day 2, Izzy seemed a little lethargic and Luke seemed emotional. They both seemed to eat and sleep okay.

We were away at Grandma and Grandpa’s and then my sister’s last week. They had a great time but stayed up late and ate junky food. They just don’t function well when their lives shift like that. They played well with their cousins, which made me so happy. At least they have friends in their cousins. One incident though, and it was a doozy.  Luke and his cousin Max were fighting over a big beach ball. Max gave Luke a hip check, and though he’s younger, he’s much bigger. Luke went flying. His little rage thermometer raced into the red. You could almost see the steam coming out of his ears. He got up and swung hard at Max, hit him in the face, and gave him a bloody nose. So bloody my sister was ready to faint. I felt horrible. Luke always manages to do something highly noticeable that hurts someone else or draws negative attention. It’s impossible for this kid to fly under the radar. In a way it's good because he's sort of innocent. He's not trying to hide his bad behaviors, he just lets fly. At least the boys both apologized and forgave each other. I think Luke understood the gravity of his actions. He suggested that he shouldn’t have screen time for five weeks! We’ll see if I can survive that.

So we began the Focalin just after getting home from this week away. It’s always hard to know if their symptoms are exacerbated by circumstances like lack of sleep, poor eating, stress, or transitions, or if the drugs are having the opposite of the intended effect. But I think we will be able to keep them on this for at least a couple of weeks to see if there is any real change--improvement I hope. I’ll report later on my other “assignments.”