A couple of days ago Leon came home from school and I could tell he wasn’t himself. Well not his, get off the bus and get the homework done right away, to get it out-of-the-way, so he can watch TV and play, self.
His ODD was in full force and rearing its ugly head. Everything was an argument or a fight, he asked for things he knew I would disagree to and then would have a huge fit when he would hear the word no. He lashed out, got fresh, and as a result he had to suffer the consequences of his actions. The consequences in this case being no video games for the rest of the day, including his newest addition to his collection; Skylanders. He had just gotten it for his birthday the week before and was becoming obsessive about it. I felt he needed a break from it. Which he did. But the storm that came after that, resulted in a huge temper tantrum. There was yelling and crying, and screaming and runny noses, and soberly “i hate you’s”, and “i hate myself”, and “i just want to be left alone”, and screaming into pillows, and pinching and scratching at himself, and me grabbing a hold of him in my arms to cradle him and love him and keep him from physically hurting himself.
Phew! I see more and more of myself in this child every day! Memories and things long forgotten and tucked away in the far back of my mind. And now as I watch him go through so many of the things I went through in my own childhood (things that had made me feel “wrong”); and now to see him go through it, and not know how to deal with the intense emotions that come with it, just kills me. I only hope that I can parlay my understanding and feelings to him based on what I have already gone through and cushion the blow even just a little. Let him know, he is NOT alone, there are others who understand, who get it, who have the same difficulties and differences.
This poor child carries the strain of always having to restrain and keep in check his natural ADHD impulses to do his own thing, his own way, while he is in school all day and for just long enough after school to get his homework done. The meds that he is on helps him to do that, and for all intense purposes work great, but some days are a bit more challenging than others. Sometimes the smallest monkey wrench puts a crimp in his day and throws him completely off course. It could be anything, maybe his schedule was unexpectedly interrupted, maybe he isn’t feeling well or maybe someone said or did something that he just can’t get off of his mind. What ever it is, it can cause the storm described above…
Leon: MOM! I am having a REALLY bad day! All I want is to come home and relax by playing my new game and you won’t even let me, And I am just really really stressed (pleading now, with tears running down his cheeks) PLEEEASE let me play with my Skylanders I just need to forget today happened!! Pleease!!! I DON’T WANT to go to fencing, I just want to RELAX!!! and I can’t do that if I can’t play my game!!
ME: (cradling my poor sobbing little boy whose trying desperately to sway me into changing my mind about taking away his video game privileges as a result of consequential behavior) I know you are upset, Leon. I am sorry that this hurts your feelings, but you know the rules if you get nasty with mommy you lose certain privileges and telling me you feel too sick to go fencing but just fine to play video games is not going to cut it.
Leon: I’m sooorrrrrry! I won’t do it again. Pllllllleeeeeeaaaassssseeee can I play my game. I had a bad day and besides I got some bad news at school and I am stressed about it! I just neeeeeeeeeed to playayayayay my GAME!
ME: What bad news? Do you want to tell me about it.
Leon: I just don’t want to talk about it OKAY!!! (screaming) Just let me PLAY!!!!!!
ME: eh, there is that tone again. (remaining as calm as any parent who just wants to strangle their beautiful child can) Lets just try to stay calm and talk things out and we can see were we go from there.
Leon: If you knew this bad news you’d know why I am so stressed!
ME: So tell me about it
Leon: I don’t want to
ME: Okay you don’t have to tell me. But I am a little worried, can you tell me if it’s bad news about you?
ME: is a teacher involved?
Me: a friend?
Me: did someone get hurt or sick?
Leon: no it’s not like that, it’s, it’s it’s just to horrible to say, I’ll write it down.
Me: (a little concerned now…. takes the folded up paper from his hand – reads his scribble and…..) (SMILE) Leon, is this what is upsetting you so much?
The note says: ” _________ has a crush on me! (It’s shocking!)”
ME: (inner voice) AWWWWW how freaking cute!!!!!!!!! (outer voice) This is flattering news, it should make you feel good about yourself. _____ is a very nice girl and she obviously has good taste. Don’t look at this as a bad thing, think of it as a good thing. I thought you liked ______.
Leon: I do! but I don’t want a crush, I want a friend!!!!
ME: All you have to do is just tell her that.
We talked a bit more about how he came to this knowledge….
Leon: Her friend came and told me, and then _____ said she was too embarrassed to tell me herself.
ME: what did you say?
Leon: nothing, I just fainted!
Ah the complexities of a fourth grader.
Today he came home in all smiles, we talked a bit before my bronchitis sent me back to sleep and he had a very nice evening playing with his dad.
I had asked him if he had spoken to ______.
Leon: yeah, I told her that I didn’t feel the same way about her, and I asked her if we could still be friends. and she said yes.
Alls well that ends well!
I just hope ______ is okay! I mean who can blame her? My kid has always been a looker……
and he is an AMAZING KID to boot.