Every day this journey with Jacob seems to get harder and more complex. We had such a great night the other night, where things that would have normally triggered Jacob's tantrums just...didn't. He went with the flow and it was amazing. It was exactly what life should be like. But since then it's been a constant stream of defiance, ignoring, and flailing limbs. I got my first glimpse into how hard homework is going to be when we did a very simple assignment the other night. We only had to write down why Jacob has the name he has and discuss it. Well, first I let him write his name on the paper and he was all over the place with it, wanting to make the cent sign (I think they did money at school last week) instead of letters. Then, when we tried to talk about what I had written, he wouldn't sit, he was giving me an all-around hard time, and it just stunk. He doesn't want to do homework, and I can't really bear to tell him it's only going to get harder from here.
I guess you could say that the reality of his future with whatever is torturing him is looking really grim right now. I think we've pretty much made up our minds that he's got ADHD with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), and I haven't ruled out that he may have a touch of bipolar going on, based on how some of his tantrums have gone. I know that sounds completely insane and like I'm a parent who has been spending too much time on the internet, but I just can't emphasize enough how different this all is from the kid we had just a few months ago. A lot of people want to blame it on Carter's arrival, but the worst of it only started a month or so ago. Yes, there was defiance prior to that. He's always been a bit difficult, but that was easy enough to chalk up to him being a boy of a certain age. After all, a lot of it was just being active, even at times he shouldn't be. He was definitely a stubborn kid, maybe more than most. And I would definitely say that the defiance ramped up a bit near the end of my pregnancy. But what we're dealing with now just seems light years away from that. This is serious stuff. I can just see that there's something there he can't control. It's hard to remember that in the moment, but his absolute disregard for anything--punishments, our feelings, logic--just tells me that something is up.
In less than four days we hop on a plane to Florida. It's a direct flight, about 2-1/2 hours, I think. I am terrified. What if he has an episode on the plane? Less than a year ago, in late September, we went to Atlanta. It was Jacob's first plane ride, and I was nervous, but I know I didn't have the trepidation I have right now. He did great that time, but his behavior is so much worse now. In addition, he'll be in close proximity to Carter for that whole time, which could create issues of its own. Plus, we'll be on vacation for a week, which means a week of weird schedules, odd sleeping arrangements, and lots of togetherness, which has not been our strong suit lately. I'm naively hoping that he'll be having so much fun that he won't need to be difficult, but a) I know how vacations usually go with him; b) if we're right and he can't help himself, it won't matter where he is; and c) we're all going to come back extra exhausted no matter what and be facing a readjustment to school. I can also naively hope that the time away will give him some perspective and he'll realize it's not so bad, but getting out of the groove is going to be weird for him, I have no doubt. I'm hoping we can do something fun when he gets back where he can tell his classmates about the trip and they'll think he's super cool, but I'm not sure how that might happen. Right now I'm simply hoping he lets himself have fun, because right now he's not even really excited to go...or at least he's not letting us know he is.
I did some research yesterday on ADHD meds, and it was a little scary. Sure, there are the people that find one that works for them, but most of the stuff I read was people talking about their kids being zombies, or not wanting to eat, or not sleeping. Some find a good drug but it wears off by the end of the school day, and others can't get their drug of choice covered by insurance. Some drugs make symptoms worse, particularly when they wear off. While it's possible that medication could be a huge help, it's a scary road to go down. It's hard enough dealing with a kid who is so different than the kid we thought we were raising, but it's even worse dealing with a kid who's two times removed from that.
This whole thing is just weighing me down. I feel like the extra spring in my step is gone. My focus is lacking and my eager anticipation of the future has turned to worry. Not just for Jacob, but for Carter's issues as well. We're doing good on day three of chicken, which makes me hopeful. We got the go ahead to call an allergist, so that's on my list. It would be nice to get an idea of what we should avoid, at least, but I'm not sure if that's going to be possible. Still, avoiding rice products alone is going to be a challenge, but hopefully we'll be one of the lucky ones and his intolerance will wear off sooner. But knowing it might be a challenge for him to eat his first birthday cake or enjoy a highchair tray-full of Cheerios is a bit of a bummer.
My mood is slightly brighter today, since Craig took Jacob to Buffalo overnight and I was able to relax and get a few things done around the house. He got some blood work done this morning to check on a few things that might have caused his personality to shift so suddenly, and while he hasn't been perfect today, he's been tolerable. We're taking him out tonight while Lori watches Carter, so hopefully he'll get the time he needs. Incidentally, among all of this I'm definitely thanking my lucky stars that Carter is as good of a baby as he is. God forbid he would have been colicky or something, because Jacob might have lost his mind completely if we had a higher maintenance baby than we have.
The trip to Florida definitely looms large and I have a lot of work to do in the next couple days. Hopefully I'll be able to get in another post prior to the trip and post a couple times during, but I have a feeling we'll have a lot of straight-to-bed nights while we're there! I'm already praying the trip goes OK...