Motherhood has a way of keeping you so busy, constantly multitasking and prioritizing and getting chores done and kids raised. I’ve loved my blogging hobby but sometimes it feels like doing an “update” is a burden, one that has so many twists and turns I couldn’t possibly keep up with the details of my own life.
But I still enjoy it, so for now, I’ll manage an update on one of my children.
You know that I’ve written about my son and the challenges he brings to my parenting game for years. He started becoming difficult to figure out when he was around 10 months old (Here’s an example). But I’ve written about him again and again over the years because he’s turned into a high-needs child. One with issues I just couldn’t put my finger on. I can’t believe I wrote this post one year ago. Crazy. And here’s a more recent one as well. So really, this has been going on for years.
There’s been short spurts of calm, of me assuming he grew out of whatever was going on in his head. Moreso, there’s been a million times I’ve searched and read and dug for the latest way to discipline, to impose consequences, to be a stronger ME so that I could help change HIM. By nature, I’m a self-reflective person. Constantly replaying things I’ve said or done, pondering how I could be better next time, do it better next time, whatever. I like to give 100% to things I care about. And truthfully, I can’t think of much more I care about then doing a good job raising my children. So I’ve spent a very long time criticizing myself for not handling my son the way he must need to be handled in order to “fix” him.
Surprisingly, after 3 years of all this, I’m finally coming to the conclusion that this is, officially, my son. This is him. Whatever is going on, whatever the causes of his issues are – I can’t fix them. This little guy, who tells me “Oh Mommy, you’re so cute”, who’s into planets and mammals and challenging puzzles and Peppa Pig and his Thomas the Train pillow, this is my oldest son, and that’s it. *Shrugging large and heavy weight off my shoulders*
It’s been extra hard the last, say, year or so, because his meltdowns can be – extreme. He’s quick to anger and easily frustrated. He went through a long period of hitting, pushing, shoving, and throwing toys. Thankfully, there’s been much less of that recently. He hasn’t told his sister he doesn’t like her in weeks, maybe even a few months! That’s gotta count for something. The fact of the matter is – he’s nothing like ME. And I know how to parent children like ME (my daughter), but I don’t know how to parent someone totally opposite. I’m an introverted, non-confrontational person. He’s “in your face”.
With the violence he was bringing every day dissipating, with his hurtful words dying down (thank you, thank you), I’m starting to see through the haze to some of the roots of his issues.
My very unofficial “diagnosis” of what’s going on in his head is:
1) He’s extremely strong-willed. Not like the type of child you say is strong-willed but then you can bribe them or distract them or talk them out of something and they comply. He can’t be talked out of anything and will argue with you like a teenager. What’s in his head is what’s staying there and that’s it, and he frequently will only comply with something if he also agrees that it’s a good idea. I just bought a book on strong-willed kids to help me learn how to parent him, because strong-willed kids need strong structure (and discipline) and this is something I lack.
2) I believe he likely has SPD, or sensory processing disorder. Issues have changed over time, but currently he HATES and can’t handle – baths, water on his body, strings (including spider webs and hair), cold temperatures (he used to love everything super cold), heights, and buttons to name a few. He seeks out squishy, soft, and warm textures and foods, while a year ago it was the opposite.
3) Down the line, I’m wondering if we may be looking at some sort of ADD. I don’t know enough about it to say much, and he in his own right isn’t hyper. His body isn’t out of control by any means. But his brain his on overload, and he hyper focuses. There’s some genetic component to this as well so I wouldn’t be surprised.
I’m not looking to diagnose him with anything. I’m not hoping he “has” anything. But at the same time, having a doctor tell me he’s got a sensory issue would make me feel just a little better, because it reminds me that most of this is truly not in my control.
He’s got an OT evaluation coming up and we’ll go from there.