My son was diagnosed with ADHD a year ago. Believe me, it was no big surprise to anyone who ever spent time with him. I got him started on medication – Focalin XR, to be exact. It worked wonders! It was like I had my son and my family back, not to mention my own sanity. We’ve been in for med checks every three months. Over the course of the year we’ve had to make adjustments. He started off at 5 mg capsules. About a month ago, he was up to 20 mg capsules. They work fantastic during the day, but over the last several weeks, the evenings have become more and more difficult as the meds work their way out of his system. This past week has been nothing short of hell in the evenings. It’s like having a classic temperamental 2-year-old residing in an 8-year-old body. You cannot reason with him. You cannot get him out of his own little tantrum enough to listen. He stomps. He cries. He explodes over nothing and over everything. He is, in short, a most unpleasant child to be around from around 4:00 pm on. And then he won’t go to sleep.
I took him back to the doctor yesterday and she thinks he’s reached his limit on tolerating Focalin. We are trying a different class of medicine this weekend and from what I can tell, it isn’t the right one. Still stomping. Still crying. Still exploding. Still unpleasant in every way. I have a prescription for a medication from the same class as Focalin as a back-up. I have a strong feeling already that I will be filling it before the day is out.
I have been criticized for being too hard on my son. I have been criticized for showing favoritism toward my daughters. I’ve spent a LOT of time reflecting on those criticisms and feeling guilty about them. I try to be a good mom to all my children. I’ve made it a point to be more mindful of my daily interactions with my children and I’ve come to realize that my high-need, high-demand son consumes the vast majority of my time, energy, and attention. When I look at where my parenting time and energy is going, I realize that the child getting the very least of me is my youngest daughter. She is an easy kid, a non-demanding kid. She spends an awful lot of her time entertaining herself and taking care of herself while her mom is tied up with brother. To me, that doesn’t seem fair at all. She shouldn’t get less of her mom just because she is good. The problem is, there is only one of me. Well, there is Anna, but I also get criticism for allowing her to help discipline the kids sometimes. I cannot win.