It's just that I really don't know what to do about it....
Elizabeth developed a new habit over the summer.
I think the official name for it is trichotillomania but she refers to it as "the crazy finger".
About July I started to notice her hair would have tiny little knots. I didn't think too much about it at first because we were swimming at the pool daily and I figured it was just a side effect from the hours of wet hair. One morning I was combing her hair and the entire left side of her head was covered in them along with a few very small stark white bald spots. I blamed myself, thinking I was combing too hard, felt very guilty about it for a few days and then noticed the bald spots were spreading. All the way around her head. By mid-August she was almost completely bald on one side of her head and I had filled two sandwich bags full of the knots she'd pulled free that I'd find on the floor, in her bed, or in the tub.
And this was the other side of her head. The one not effected by her brother's Zohan auditions.
It's actually starting to grow out some and what you see here is not near what it was like this summer. We would go places and people would stop and coo at her and tell her how pretty she was and once I even went to our local consignment shop and let her pick out some books and the lady gave them to us for free and told us she'd pray for us. I thought that was mighty nice and it did not dawn on me until a friend pointed out that she looked like she'd had recent brain surgery.
When I'd catch her with her hands in her hair she'd tell me, "Mom, I can't stop my crazy finger!". And now I wish I had a picture of her waving the crazy finger in the air so you could see why I'd fall on the floor laughing. Yeah, yeah, you shouldn't laugh at your possibly mentally ill child, but it was funny.
Inside, though, I was sick. Maybe she was developing anxiety, depression, OMG what if she has some sort of metabolic, vitamin deficient, tumor-growing, drop dead illness??????? Really?
And just about the time I was making doctor appointments, school started and we don't see Crazy Finger so much anymore.
Schizophrenia or boredom? Hmmmm.....
So another year of lopsided hair. Another year of wacked out school pictures. Another year of whispering, pointing parents wondering.
One day this will be hysterically funny. These pictures will look awesome in her wedding slide show I'm sure, but right now I am just looking for a way to cover up the bald, hence, the long bangs that I use as a comb over.
My official excuse: The beginning of the school year is chaotic and busy and lasts six long weeks.
The truth: Facebook ate my blog.
Oh well, where've you all been all this time? I sure do miss ya'll. Remember when we chatted everyday? What happened to that? Oh, yeah, Facebook.
Anyway, who wants to hear how the summer testing turned out?
You don't? Well, tough.
If we rewind back to late June/early July you'll remember that Jacob was unmedicated for almost three solid weeks due to four different days of testing with a new psychologist. Short back story: Jacob was diagnosed with severe ADD in April 2007 at the age of six and we've struggled with that for a while. His therapist has always believed he has Aspergers Syndrome (Google it if you're living under a rock and never heard of it) and recommended he be retested by this new psychologist. Since I'll try anything once, that's what we did.
After the testing was over, new psychologist said she'd call when she calculated the results AND when my crappy insurance ever called them. That was July 8. On September 19 I finally heard back from her. You'd think I'd be crazy pissed about that but see the beginning of this post where the beginning of school is chaotic and you'll see why it did not dawn on me until that day, that, well, what happened about all that new testing?
Fast forward a week and Kid Number One and I are sitting in her office for a 7 a.m. appointment to read our future.
You want to know what the test said don't you?
I wish I knew. New Doctor will be typing up a comprehensive (i.e. understandable) interpretation of all the raw data, standard deviations, mean, median, averages, do-a-little-dance, whatever the heck it said.
This is what I took away from it (and remember it was 7 a.m.):
(and I don't know how to make points, so we'll use numbers, k?)
1. Jacob DOES NOT have Aspergers. No way, no how, who said he had Aspergers again? Do they have a degree? Wow, no, he absolutely doesn't have Aspergers. I can't believe anyone even suggested that......as New Doctor shakes her head confused.
2. See this number here? This says he's in the 98th percentile for problem solving skills. That's great. That means he should be able to do most anything he wants to....IF.....
3. We deal with this number here....see this number? I would diagnose a child with ADHD if the score were somewhere between 70ish and 80ish. Do you see your son's number? The 4? Yeah....he scored a FOUR.
4. You realize this means he is the most severly ADHD child I have ever seen or tested in all my 32 years of doing this?
5. I mean, WOW, FOUR. I have never, ever, ever seen that.
6. And something, something about the synapses of the brain not meeting and getting where they need to be kinda like frayed electrical wires all over the place not having the outer cover of the electrical cord. Jacob's meds are like the cover of the cord, his brain is the frayed wires.
7. Oh, see here, these other numbers you can't really see through your tears and the glazed over confusion? These mean that there are TWO types of ADHD and, whaddya know? Jacob has BOTH types, BUT he's only being medicated for one. So you know what that means? You won't be able to discuss this with the overbooked psychiatrist until your December 15 appointment so we'll just hope someone cancels.
8. And did I show you the FOUR? Yeah, that means you can medicate him until the sun don't shine (which is what we actually do!) and it still won't do enough for him.
9. Because, I mean, did you see that? FOUR!!!!
10. Oh, and since his brain is basically fine and what's truly messed up is his nervous system dealing with his brain function, I can almost certainly tell you that this is a result of his very early birth, so SEE, it IS your fault.
We were there for an hour (did I mention it was dark outside?) and she gave me soooo much information, but since her mother is dying and she spends four days a week in Dallas, well, she didn't have the written report that dumbs it all down for a non-PHD like me. She swears she'll have it to me by Monday. We shall see.
So what I think this all means is that Jacob is very severly ADHD, both the impulsive type and the inattentive type. Currently he is being medicated for the impulsive type. The reason he is failing math, history, and quite possible language arts is because the inattentive part of his ADHD is not being addressed and, well, he's inattentive. He spaces out during the tests, forgets his books at school so he can't study, doesn't actually study even when the books are in front of him, and generally acts as if the actual school portion of actual school is optional. We can get a dopamine based medication (such as Strattera) that will supplement his Daytrana patch but he will still need to find a therapist or someone who can teach him concentration and study skills. Oh, and it might be a good idea to enroll him in public school so that he can be enrolled in Special Ed. And I really do think that's where my own head hum took over.
When (and if) I ever get the comprehensive report, I'll summarize it for you then. Are you as confused as I am?
So for now, I've talked with his teacher (whom I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE!) who is going to try to help him out with the inattentive mess and who tutors him once a week after school. For free. He's still taking the 15mg Daytrana patch plus 10mg Methyphenidate (Ritalin) to overlap those two hours the patch is kicking in. On the weekends he takes a 10mg Daytrana with no overlap pill. You should have seen our CVS bill this month.
I don't feel like I can really make any decisions until I understand it all better. I'm trying not to lose my cool with him because now I know his brain is like frayed electrical wire that isn't getting anywhere, but I do have to wonder if that FOUR really makes you mock your mom behind her back when she asks you to pick up your socks.
And Adam's teacher asked me yesterday if I had considered having him tested......
All my life I thought I'd be the perfect mother. I even majored in it. I aced all the child development classes I took toward my degree in, wait for it, Early Childhood Development and Elementary Education.
And then they were born. First Jacob, who is 8, then Adam, who is 4, and our biggest surprise, Elizabeth who is 2.
As much as I really wanted to be, I am finding out I am no June Cleaver. For starters, The Beav never had a baby sister.