Friday, July 10, 2009

What a Difference a Few Days Makes

Just so y'all know, I haven't jumped off a cliff or anything yet. I don't have my shit together yet, but I'm getting there.

So, to recap, I left on June 7 with my 4 kids. I was by myself with them until we got home to Texas on June 30. My husband stayed home because he had to work and couldn't take off, since he is still trying to repay the time he had to take off last summer (a whole month) when he was suffering with Lyme Disease.

We got home the 30th. Texan Papa was off on July 1st, then back to work every day until he left for Boy Scout Camp with our other son, Charlie Brown, on July 5th.

I'm stating the obvious here, but Linus had not seen too much of his dad for a full month. Plus, his mom was a bit fried from being the only caretaker.

Now, looking back over the events of earlier this week, I am wondering what the cause of all the chaos could possibly have been?
  • Linus having no male role-model for a full month
  • Linus not being on a schedule
  • Linus just plain missing his dad or feeling the imbalance of our "normal" life, and not knowing how to deal with it he just acted out
  • Linus looking for some extra attention
  • Me being unable to have perspective about Linus' behavior because of too much "kid-time" and not enough "me-time"
  • Me suffering from hormonal changes because of the pregnancy
  • Me suffering because, simply, I am the one who needs counseling

My guess? A combination of one or more or maybe ALL of those things. But, I can tell you, my Linus is a completely different guy now. What is changing?
  • Dad is back home. Life is back to normal.
  • I am trying more of a schedule and being even MORE strict about sugar intake.
  • I am trying to give Linus a little more one-on-one time
  • I am also looking at the possibility that Linus is not the only one having an issue here. Could his siblings try to be less sensitive to his efforts in gaining their attention? Could they be more flexible. Not that it's THEIR fault, but it also couldn't always be Linus' fault either.

I've heard Linus apologizing to his sister and brother for things he's done wrong (without prompting from me). I see him play gently with the baby. I hear him say loving things to me. I feel him not losing his temper when I have to give him a punishment. No, he's not perfect. But, for example, last night after I'd put him to bed, I checked on him and found him crouched in the corner next to his nightlight, drawing. I told him, "It's time for bed. No more drawing," and I took the paper and pencil away. He immediately shouted, "I hate you! Well, I don't hate you, but I hate it when you take away my drawing." So, see? He knew it was wrong to say "I hate you" and he corrected himself before I could even mention it. Is that progress?

I still have an appointment set up for him to see a counselor. I think I need it as much as he does. I need my husband to hear what a professional person has to say. A professional NEUTRAL person. I need to hear that I am not overreacting to my son's behavior. And, frankly, if a psychologist says, "Your son does not have any diagnosable problem. He just has a very strong personality and is a rambunctious boy." I will be totally okay with that. It is the not knowing that is killing me. Is he ADHD? Is he autistic? Is he showing early signs of being schizophrenic? Or is he just crazy and wild?

And, the scariest part of all of this is: how can I know who to trust? Just because a psychologist is licensed, doesn't mean that person really has the best intentions. We are meeting with professionals that are errant humans too. They have their own personalities and their own points of view. Not all help is really helpful, if you know what I mean. And, from the standpoint of a person who is in need of help, it's awfully hard to look at any kind of help with a discerning eye. Like a drowning person who is thrown a raft with a hole in it... what looks like help may end up being of no help at all. I don't know how to be smart about that.

So, like I said, I've sorta got my shit together, for now. I did get a scrip (Prozac) from my OB for some anti-depressants but I think I'd like to talk to a counselor too. My OB admitted that he doesn't know a lot about anti-depressants but that he'd prescribed Prozac for his patients in the past and it had been good for them. But he encouraged me to talk to a mental health professional as well, so I'm going to try to do that. So now I must conquer the phone-book-of-a-directory-of-covered-insurance-providers to find the psychologist who will be my life raft. Hopefully he or she won't be the one with the hole in it.


nicole said...

Sounds like progress to me. Good luck finding the right fit for both of you in the counseling search.

Debbi said...

A bit fru fru to some, but do you believe in God? Because, maybe the psychologist won't know jack all, but maybe you'll find more peace from the Maker Himself.?

I hope, no matter what, things will be fine. Linus will know he's loved, and that's more than a lot of "NORMAL" children can say!

PinkInklings said...

I think prayer is good, in general, but I have a friend who told me once, It's OK to be angry with God, He's bigger than you and He can take it. I took her advice one day when my back was against the wall. I asked Him, in an 'angry' sort of way, why He was allowing all these things to keep piling up on me without at least giving me an equal amount of answers. I followed with a good hard cry. Felt some relief, got some answers. Been doin' it ever since. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

jori-o said...

You sound a lot seems that a schedule and some normalcy are doing YOU a world of good as well! =) I'm so glad you are getting help. Still thinking and praying for you!

Wendy said...

I'm so glad to see this.

The episode where Linus said, "well, I don't hate you, I hate when you..."

Girl, that is FANTASTIC. Grab onto that, keep encouraging it. For him to be able to state that he is angry & put it on the action & not on you? That is really great.

A book that I read (but haven't put into action as much as I'd like) is "how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk". I don't agree with every single thing, but the gist of the book is helping kids identify their own emotions & deal with them in a good way.

I'm so glad to see things are looking up. Keep those appointments! Sometimes just knowing you're taking a step forward is a big encouragement. Your doctor is SO SMART to admit he doesn't know that much and tell you to go to a MH person. That is amazing.

I'm going to pray that THE right counselor will appear for you like it happened for me (I met mine standing in line at Fuddrucker's).

jen said...

I don't know exactly where you live in the DFW area, but I have had good luck with the staff at Bent Tree Psychiatric Associates. I know for sure they take Aetna. Also, I wanted to say there is nothing wrong with seeking help from both God and trained professionals here on Earth. I think summer's are more difficult than we parents possibly imagine.

Jennifer said...

Ask around and see if you can find some recommendations on a counselor. At least that way you can have some confidence in your choice.

My friend's son (that I wrote about before) really, really needs a male influence. I can tell the difference between his dad is home and when he is away working. I think this was one of my brother's problems as well. He had ADHD, back in the day when it was just becoming known. Needless to say that my mother (who was single) had her share of problems. One time we actually tied him to a chair to try to get him to be still and focus. I know that sounds extreme, but this was over 20 years ago and it didn't hurt him at all. Actually he laughed until we undid him. Don't try it. It didn't help.

anymommy said...

I just wanted to say that I'm catching up on blog friends and I'm so sorry that you've been having such a tough time. I think having someone to talk to about all of this, especially your son, will be so healing. And, I absolutely think that children can be this trying, I know you are not alone.

Jen said...

I am glad that you are getting there.

Anna See said...

I'm so glad things are getting better. I know what it's like to have a wave of days so awful that I despair. Then things do get better.

We are having summer/schedule/sugar/soda issues here plus the uncertainty about school for next year. Nice.