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Life with Ben - Progress?

Written by Heather Starr Fiedler. Posted in PittsburghMom

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I've run into several people recently that have asked me about Ben.  Ever since I posted the "Life with Ben" blog late this summer I have felt such overwhelming support.

I thought I'd jump in to give you all a quick update.

We had an appointment at Children's Behavioral Health for October, but ended up having to reschedule it for December. He had a field trip that day and I really hated for him to miss it. And I needed more time. Here's why...

Since he started Kindergarten he's turned into a completely different kid.  And I'm not sure if this is yet another phase and he'll "crash" again, or if this is here to stay.

When I first wrote that blog and I called Children's things were bad.  Everything was difficult, he was throwing fits multiple time a week, he was mean spirited and cold and acting out constantly. He peed his pants just about daily and wrote on everything he wasn't supposed to over and over again.  He refused to have his picture taken, have any attention paid to him, or even hug us or tell us he loves us.  Several times this summer he had tantrums when things didn't go his way (he dropped and broke a cheap necklace once, he colored in the wrong spot another time, etc.)  These explosive episodes included screaming, kicking, telling me he didn't want me to be his mother, and more.  It was hard. Really hard. It pushed me to my edge and nearly off it.

The first two weeks of kindergarten were also hard. He refused to get on the bus. He screamed and cried every single morning.  He continued to have tantrums in the evenings.

Then it slowly started to change.  And two months later we've got a completely different child living in our house.

I don't know if it's his diet (we've eliminated most dyes and HFCS) or school (his teacher is AMAZING and the structure seems to suit him) or our slower lifestyle (we're not running as much as we used to). I've tried to be more mindful of his introvert needs (letting him have alone time, not forcing him into so many new social situations, allowing much more "down time", etc).

But whatever it is I'll take every single day.  We're still calling it a day-by-day thing. As I said in the beginning, I don't know if this is just an upswing or a true change/growth in him.

We had family pictures taken last month and he cooperated the entire time.  In fact, yesterday he wore jeans (scratchy ones, he would never have previously worn anything but "comfy" pants), sat on Santa's lap and smiled for a photo (we haven't done that in a few years).  Then last night before bed he hugged me, kissed me and told me he loves me. He does that every night now.  I can't tell you how good that feels.  

He's still strong-willed and apt to lose his temper, but he seems to just "handle life" so much better lately. If he gets the wrong marker or colors outside the line he just shrugs and moves on more often than not.

So that's where we are. We'll keep the appointment in December. We'll still work on "slowing down", respecting his need to have some alone and down time, and try to avoid his triggers.  We'll continue the healthier diet and keep encouraging him to express his feelings through words and pictures and not fists.

But right now, today, things are good. My son hugged me.  I can't ask for anything more in life.

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