gently down the stream (of consciousness).
Warning: this post is going to ramble. A lot. I have an issue I need to work through and you guys get to take the bullet. Thanks.
Thing 1 has always been a different kid. Not so much a square peg, as a bigger peg, if that makes any sense. He’s very smart, creative, and sweet beyond anything. He also won’t take shit off of anyone, and he was like that even as a little dude. Everything about him is so freakin’ intense. And he was like that from day one. I’m really glad I had him first, because if it had been the other way around, I don’t think I could have handled it. I didn’t know any better, so it was ok, I guess.
But now, things are getting harder. He’s been diagnosed with dysgraphia, which we’ve dealt with and he’s doing fine with now. Well, mostly. But he’s always tested as NOT being in the ADD family. In fact, I’ve kind of enjoyed throwing that back in the teacher’s faces a bit. Recently though, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more to the story.
Without going into too much detail, he’s having a very hard time with focus, and when he has a hard time with the focus, he loses his temper. And his temper? Well, let’s put it this way: his ancestors on one side did the blitzkreig and the other side used to rip the beating hearts out of sacrificial victims. With some Irish thrown in for good measure. It’s an impressive, and frankly scary temper. It scares him, too. But we only see it when he can’t focus and he gets frustrated. He knows that it is a problem, but he’s powerless to do anything about it. After the last outburst about two weeks ago, we had a nice chat about it all. In which he told me that it actually hurt him to focus.
So we’ve decided to have him re-evaluated. But here’s the thing. We are totally opposed to any drug therapy for this. But I have to admit, at the last outburst, I would have kicked a kitten for a pill to make his pain stop. But really, the best thing, I think, would be some CBT to help him learn to cope with it all. I don’t see meds as a solution. At all. I don’t want to take the chance of the meds changing all of the other wonderful qualities he has. Qualities that when he is older will serve him so well. It’s just that they don’t do well in a classroom setting.
Homeschooling? Not on your life. Someone in this house would be dead in a week. Thing 1 has a personality that is waaaay too close to mine to make this effective. There are some half-and-half options that are intriguing, but there are no secular options for that in this town. I am religious, but I’m Lutheran, which means I don’t want any of THAT stuff involved in my kid’s education, thankyouverymuch.
I’m trying to come up with the best way to help him be the adult I know he can be. My side of the family has a LOT of really smart, talented people who just…..well, just. I mean, I grew up thinking that every family had lots of valedictorians and concert quality musicians and PhD. candidates and stuff like that. But we (and I include myself here, too) just never did much with all of the talent. And Spouse’s uncle has to be one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. But he’s so, how do I say this, WEIRD, that he just never got his shit together. If he were a kid today, he’d totally be Aspergers. I am so afraid of that being his life. Oh, and as an added bonus: Spouse’s family has a disproportionately high number of suicides. So am I starting to have kittens over all of this? You betcha.
So we’re going to do the eval….and then what? At least he’s on board with the whole thing. He realizes he has a problem and he wants to do better. That’s encouraging. And how much of this is my expectations? Am I so wrapped up in him that I’ve got some preconceived notion of what he should be? Have I lost perspective on all of this?
Thing 2 doesn’t worry me like this AT ALL. Even though he also has dysgraphia, for him it’s more of a motor skills issue. He’s totally happy to use his AlphaSmart in class and is a model student in every way. I know Thing 2 is going to be just fine. But I’m really starting to worry about Thing 1.
I guess part of the ambivilence is that I wonder how much of this comes from the fact it is so freakin’ competitive around here. I mean, no one takes anything at half measures. Yeah, I live in one of THOSE neighborhoods. Is he really just a normal 11 yr old but since he’s not “at the top”, there is something “wrong” with him? Are we caving into some sort of societal pressure to make him what is expected? And what is expected anyway? I’m just so torn about it all.
So that’s part of what’s been keeping me up nights. We’ll do the eval as soon as we get the insurance all squared away. I just hope it doesn’t give us more questions than we already have.