Let's see if I can give some nutshell versions of what's going on:
~Brian is all moved in! Yay! We moved the last of his stuff up last Sunday. Now we're trying to bring order out of chaos, cleaning out and dejunking in a major way so we can get it organized for once and for all. No more half-assed shoving stuff in closets just so we can't see it. We are cleaning out the crap. We're planning a garage sale on April 26. J did well with the moving - he got whiny and crabby after a while, but he really was a good helper before he was worn out. He's thrilled that Oscar (Brian's cat) is at the house - he adores her (more on that later).
~J got his third Home-Gram at the after-school program this week - four or five time-outs for talking when he shouldn't have been, not sitting still, not listening, and for calling a parent fat. As it's his third, I now need to call the program director (I've left two messages for her now, and haven't gotten a return call, so apparently it's not *that* important that she speak to me, or I'd have expected a call back by now). He and I had a talk about a lot of things after this, and like he always does when he thinks I'm mad at him, he just burst into tears and became a sobbing mess. On the way home, we decided to order pizza for dinner. He started crying a few minutes after I'd called to order it because he didn't want cheese pizza, he wanted to cook something at home. I asked him what he wanted to fix at home, and he said he couldn't tell me. I told him that I couldn't fix what he wanted if I didn't know what it was, and he started howling that he didn't want to cook at home, he wanted to go eat somewhere because that was better. *sigh* He sobbed most of the way home. After we got home, I gave him half a juice glass of Dr Pepper and he calmed down almost immediately. He sat still all the way through dinner and ate a good solid meal rather than getting up every two or three bites and running off to do something else. He did what I asked without balking like he usually does. He played quietly with his Bionicles after dinner and wasn't all over the map with the "mama, mama, LOOK, come SEE, heyIfoundthisreallycoolBioniclevideoandweneedtowatchittwenty-seventimes" like he usually is in the evenings. It was amazing. I'd started the caffeine experiment because I'd read that caffeine may be helpful in kids with ADHD, and I didn't have any formal diagnosis on that, but I figured the caffeine would either send him into overdrive or it would help. Apparently it helps. Read on....
~A couple of weeks ago, J's teacher and I both filled out Conner's surveys to look for ADHD characteristics. The school counselor scored them, and we went over the results yesterday. J's issues don't rise to the level of a DSM-IV diagnosis, but he scored highly enough (primarily in hyperactivity/impulsivity) that the counselor felt he could benefit from treatment. She gave us a list of psychologists and psychiatrists that she's familiar with, and we talked about the possibility of medicine and about behavior modification. She said we should educate ourselves before we make any decisions, talk to J's doctor, talk to the counselor we already have, and then we just see what works. She has two sons who were diagnosed as ADHD when they were young, and she said that for them, finding the right medication made a world of difference. She also explained that it's not a one size fits all deal, that if we go the medication route, it would be monitored and would involve regular doctor visits to make sure things were on track. Nothing she said was a surprise to me, and J's teacher and I scored things very similarly. I was glad to see that J doesn't seem to have the zero-to-sixty meltdowns at school that he does at home, not according to his teacher's survey results. Anyway, now it's time for more research and appointments and we'll go from here. The psychologist that the counselor highly recommended is up the road in Desoto, and she said it could take about two months to get in to see him, so if we're going to do that, I guess it would be wise to go ahead and call.
But like the counselor said, I need to educate myself. Brian and I had been talking already before all the ADHD stuff came up about how bad high fructose corn syrup (HFCS, because I'm too lazy to type all that every time I mention it! LOL) is for you and how it's in every.freakin'.food product out there, and our desire to get away from it as much as possible. We went to a local Asian market on Tuesday, and as we looked at packages, we noticed that HFCS just isn't prevalent in the pastries and snack foods as it is in what's available at our local grocery store. We bought a couple of things to try, and while they were different than what we're used to, they were good. So we thought, hey, we'll try to do more shopping there, and we also want to support local growers and farmers' markets. Then I started researching about how changes in diet can impact behavioral issues, and I thought, hey, maybe there's something to this. So, what we'll try first, before going the medication route, is to change what we eat. I'd like to cut out as much as possible things like artificial sweetener, artificial colors (especially the red dye - I know that causes problems for some kids), some preservatives, HCFS, and see how that goes.
And from all the reading I've done, there could be a connection with sleep and bedwetting as well. As long as I wake J up to go to the bathroom once a night, he's generally fine. My theory is that he sleeps so deeply that the signals from his body that he needs to go don't wake him up. This may be due to diet throwing his sleep patterns off, leading to sleep that isn't what a normal, healthy sleep cycle could be, and that can show up in bedwetting and in ADHD-like symptoms of irritability, frustration, inattention, and the like. It's interesting reading, and right now, I'd love to go home and toss out all the crap in my pantry and start fresh, because I really want to see how it works! Realistically, I can't afford to restock my pantry from the ground up with healthier alternatives, so we'll do it a little at a time. I'll be writing about this, because I know it's going to be a challenge getting J off the Pop-Tarts he favors and onto something better for him. But if it helps, it is so worth it.