Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Trying New Things

I am so impressed to see how far Galina has come over the last two years-- especially the last one.  She has blossomed emotionally and spiritually.  She really likes to cook and bake.  She take pride in baking homemade bread and crumb top banana muffins all by herself.  On this particular morning she cooked eggs for 3 or 4 of us for breakfast.  
Oliver is a little lovey.  He is adored immensely.  Annalyn pointed out that he has gotten more kisses in the last two months than most of us have gotten in our whole life.  But no one is complaining-- we just keep giving him more and more!
He was evaluated by the Regional Center here in California.  In one or two areas he was at a four month level, but in just as many he was at a 9 month level.  On average he is hitting most 6-8 month milestones.  Oh but wait-- that was 2 weeks ago.  Since, he has learned to get into a sitting position from lying down.  And he is army crawling much further, and standing for nearly a minute at a time.  Go Ollie!
A teacher will be coming out twice a week for a total of 2 hours to help him meet his goals.  
Alex has began a new journey today.  After three years of taking the wait and see approach to his very short attention span and high distractability he is now taking Ritalin-- 5 mg. twice a day.   I hope it makes a difference for him.   I see how much potential he has-- if only he could concentrate.  When I took him for his appointment yesterday, I was so excited that we were seeing the great doctor I had previously mentioned.  I was way less excited 4 hours into the appointment.  And even less excited when the doctor was not willing to prescribe anything else but Ritalin.  Finally when he told me that we would have to follow up with a neurologist, I was pretty much deflated.  I asked what the neurologist would do and he said he just had more experience with meds-- that was all.  Big sigh... I think I am going to stop talking about the doctors here in SoCal.  I am so not impressed.  
The teacher didn't notice a big difference although it may take time.  I haven't noticed a decrease in his appetite which is awesome, but I did notice how he kept chewing and playing with his tongue when we were doing homework.  He is still awake in bed as I type.  Is this worth it for him?  I wish I had the answers.
The kids drive me crazy with cups.  Cups outside.  Cups in the garage.  Cups in the rooms.  Cups all over the counter.  How many kids live here anyway-- if you were counting cups it would be a couple dozen.
I asked our friends who were here this past weekend.  The kids have their own cup that sits on the counter.  They use that cup and only that cup.  They are responsible for washing that one cup.
Hmmm, worth a try.  My Mom did something like this when we were in Ukraine.  She said it worked.
So, I am trying it again.  So far so good other than the unsightly display of cups.
So glad that tomorrow is Thursday.  Only three dentist appointments (insert sarcasm) including one for myself.  It may sound crazy but I am looking forward to the teeth scraping.  It is like a massage to me.   Anyone else like this part of the dental exam or am I the only wierdo?


  1. You are a weirdo when it comes to liking the teeth scraping at the dentist - YUCK!

  2. I wouldn't be discouraged about the neurologist. Some of the meds really can effect how the brain functions. I would want my child monitored by someone who specializes in that when starting them on those type of meds.

  3. Hey Christine, don't be discouraged yet about Alex's medicine. We learned in our psychotropic meds class that it takes 2 weeks for the medicine to work. At least give it that long. I really hope it helps him!

  4. I've only ever heard bad about Ritalin... I grew up with someone who was on Ritalin, and ended up getting in so much trouble as a teen and adult - depression, robbery, etc. - whether it was from the drug or the ADHD or something completely unrelated, I guess we will never know... but it just kind of scares me away from it. I am praying for Alex, and that you will find a solution that is right for him.
    Oliver is so cute! Love that picture of him and his big brother. And way to go on all the milestones that he has reached!
    I absolutely HATE going to the dentist for any reason. :P

  5. It massages me too. ;)

    The cup idea is brilliant!

  6. No, you are not the only weirdo, I'm sure, but I'm not part of that particular group!
    TOO BAD about the dr/ failure....again!! Hope you get some feedback from others for someone else. 4 hours is about 3.5 hrs. way too long. You Need that teeth cleaning now, for sure!

    BTW- keep meaning to tell you, I Love your kitchen cabinets. So lovely! I notice no handles- how do you keep them looking so good, when they must be getting fingerprints on them a lot?


  7. Oliver has such a light in his eye. So precious. And, uh, no, I hate that part of the dental exam. I hate all parts and I have good teeth.

  8. Hi!It may take a few weeks for the medication to kick in and you notice the positive results from taking the medication. Check out the negative effects Alex is having and report those to your doctor. He may have to adjust the dosage until he gets the dosage that is effective for your little guy.Pat

  9. I like it too, Christine : )

    And we had the cup idea when I was little and we were only 3 kids!

    A decorative idea for the cups? Buy one of those long steel rods in IKEA and hang hooks from them and then if you can buy some type of plastic cup with handle, you could hang the cups from the rod with the names....I have this in my kitchen with my coffee cups....

    Just an idea...


  10. our adopted son sounds very much like Alex. We adopted him at age 4 and at age 8 we tried medication for the first time. He is now 11.

    At first I was SO not interested in trying medication. It took 4 months of praying before my husband and I decided to do it.

    Now I am SO glad we did!!! It has been wonderful! He started on the lowest dose possible-25 mg of Vyvanse (it has since increased to 25 mg. since he is heavier). It doesn't have a lot of the side effects that Ritalin does and we have had no issues at all.

    The very first day he was on it he sat down to draw a picture, first time ever! He would never sit still and couldn't not form any other shapes other than a circle.

    I know it takes some time with new medicines to see if they will work or not. So, I would keep at it with Alex. See if the Ritalin works for him, but after a month, if you see more bad than good, you may want to change. I would think Ritalin would stop the tongue biting, i.e....nervous habits??. But I am no expert.

    Just a few things we do to help our son get to sleep at night. I make sure I give him his meds as early as possible. Sometimes even bringing a his meds and a glass of water to his bed for him to take before he is fully awake in the morning.

    Lots of outdoor time after school to run off that extra medication energy!! :)

    No sweets after dinner. I know this can be really, really hard, but I just let him have his dessert when he gets home from school. He doesn't need the extra sugar at all really, so this isn't an all the time thing.

    Baths at night sometimes help to calm him.

    I also put him to bed at 7. I know this sounds really, really early for an 11 year old, but after 7 he gets into more trouble than the whole rest of the day combined! It is better for all of us if he goes to bed early. I read to him every night and he looks through books in bed, sings or talks to himself (he loves to do this! HA!). It usually takes him nearly an hour to fall asleep, but this would happen even if I put him to bed at 8. So....7 it is.

    Oh one other thing. Our son doesn't seem to be hungry when he is on the medication, but when he is off, he is famished! So I make him a huge breakfast, he has quite a big snack around 4 and a huge dinner. He does eat his lunch at school, but it isn't large and sometimes he doesn't finish. I think he just eats it because he is suppose to. He is naturally really skinny, so I was worried about that. But so far his weight has not been an issue.

    I hope you find the meds that fit and I hope and pray that Alex responds. It has made such a difference in our son's life. He has actually learned to read! It is all because of the ability to concentrate at school and really, really learn. Very cool :)

    Blessings, Sue

  11. I know I don't comment much, but I wanted to encourage you about the ritalin. Maddie and Nick are both on it...and are doing pretty well. Nick started out at 10 mg two times a day...which was way too much for him. We backed off to 5 mg two times a day and it still seemed like too much but it was the lowest dose we could do without halfing the pills ourselves. We decided to keep him on it last year so that he could continue to catch up, with the hope that changing classes in middle school would help take the edge off his wiggliness and inattentiveness. Unfortunately, he had headaches the first few days, had trouble sleeping at night and it curbed his appetite...he ended up losing a pound last spring. This summer I took him off of it completely and he gained FIVE pounds! :) This fall, the doctor wanted to take him off it completely and see how he did. I asked that we continue for another semester, only taking it in the morning which is when he has all of his core that it would be out of his system by the time evening came so he would have a good appetite and be able to fall asleep more easily. So far, so good. He's doing well in classes and I haven't heard any complaints about the afternoon ones. And his appetite seems to be intact. I hope to be able to take him off it completely after Christmas break to see how he does.
    Maddie on the other hand is on an extended release capsule...which I LOVE. She was on 10 mg two times a day last year and was experiencing a down time in between doses and it would wear off before school was over. She is a textbook case of ADHD...she just can't even LOOK like she's functioning in a school setting without her meds. I asked the doctor for an extended release capsule so that it would last longer throughout the day. She took Maddie back down to 5 mg...and it's working. There's something about keeping the meds in her system in the extended release that keeps her on a more even keel and doesn't require the higher dose. It's amazing.
    ALL of that to say, give it some time. Sometimes it just takes a bit of tweaking to get the kids settled on the right med. Honestly, it probably won't be more than a week before you know whether he will need a different dose. But don't be surprised if you have to go through a few before you find one that works best for him.

  12. Has Alex had a neuropsych eval? Some kids with spina bifida can have attention issues, that are not ADHD and can't be treated with ADHD medicine. A good neuropsych should be able to help. Also, does he take ditropan? That can cause attention issues too. We saw a huge change in our daughter once we started putting it directly in her bladder. She still has some side effects, but has a much better attention span. Just some thoughts.

  13. I added a lot more books to my give away on my blog for girls. Please stop by. These are all new books and I need to clean out my closet!

  14. I'm another weirdo who likes the scraping, too!

  15. We have a 10 y.o. daughter who has a terrible time focusing on school work. She has some sensory integration issues, but is very intelligent ... I've been pushing for her to get 'on the list' to get some help for her sensory issues, hoping that her focus troubles will be addressed if her sensory issues are. Here in Finland they use the socialized medicine, so yes, you really do wait in line ... and now she's in front of the line, having evaluations done by the school psychologist. It came to mind, because of the mention of seeing a neurologist - the psychologist says that she must first do her testing, then can refer for a neuropsych. eval, and then we will decide what route to take to help her out. I haven't even considered the thought that she may need something like Ritalin ... will be interesting to see what they find! Here it seems that at least with kids, the wait may be long, but then they are typically quite thorough- crossing my fingers!!

    And yes, you are strange (not literally, of course!! I think you're great!! but ... ) I absolutely can't stand to have my teeth scraped!

  16. I like the tooth scraping except when they slip and hit my gums--ouch! I also just like the exam's the only time when I have 2 people completely focused on me so it is a very special few minutes. LOL!

  17. Well, you might be a weirdo...but you are not alone! I am with you there! I LOVE getting my teeth scraped, and that gritty stuff they polish them with at the favorite part!! Wish it was more than twice a year!
    Hi to all from a fellow weirdo :)

  18. There are a lot of great sensory toys out there for oral kids. Like rulers that they can chew on, etc. It can help them to focus. Sometimes with fidgety kids it's better to given them an appropriate, non-irritating, fidget toy than get them to stop fidgeting - way easier for them to concentrate with something (appropriate) in their hands or mouth.

  19. I would definitely wait and see how Alex does on the Ritalin. You can't determine what will happen after a few days, so give it some time. It would be awesome for everyone if he is able to settle down and concentrate at school!

    The cup idea is a good one. I like the idea above to do a bar and hooks. We used to have an accordion folding cup holder that held a dozen. You could do two of those for the whole family.

  20. Thanks for all the comments. I would have to say that the medication is working okay-- his appetite is better than ever and though he is not taking naps he fell asleep by 8:30 tonight. His attention span has not improved significantly but I think we need to give it more time. I am going back to our old doctor to see what he says.

  21. I like all the ideas about the cups! I'll keep them in mind. :)

  22. We had the cup problem, too. My parents gave my kids their own personalized cup for each of their birthdays two years ago. It has a picture (sports or flower or animal) that they like and their name in their favorite color. They were purchased from tervis tumblers. They also come w/ a lid that can hold a straw or slide open for sipping. We wash them each night. As for ADHD, we just started my son on meds for ADHD this summer. I was told by my docs and several other parents that we should see effects within a couple days. I was skeptical and gave two different meds each two weeks of seeing zero or very small results. The third med was actually an increase of the second med and I saw results the second day. We could probably even increase but I'm also hesitant to be medicating and really trying to be cautious, like everyone else. I also feed him a large breakfast and he takes his meds as he sits down for breakfast. It does wear off about halfway through the day, but he's only attending school half day for now so it works for us. This way he still eats a good dinner (really important for us because he is needing to gain weight) and goes to bed early (really important for me so I stay sane:)) Thank you for posting this and to everyone for their replies. Many of us are in similar situations. Everyone's advice was helpful to me, and I'm grateful to know I'm not alone:)

  23. Love catching up on your beautiful family! Your little boys are just precious!

    We have stainless steel cups for each child that sit to the left of the fridge. Every one has their own and it keeps the water cold.


  24. Christine, Tenex is another good one if you decide to go with a non-stimulant medication. It has helped my 6/year old a ton. Good luck!

  25. Ritalin is an old drug. It doesn't take 2 weeks it is a fast acting drug and will work instantly if at all. If it doesn't show results in the first few days its the wrong drug. I would go to a neurologist. Autumn sees a Psychiatrist, I chose a psychiatirist instead of a neurologist when she was 5 (now 12) because of all her behaviors. She has been on Adderall for her ADHD for 7 years now.

    If sleeping becomes difficult you can try Melatonin. Autumn has taken Melatonin nightly since she's been 5, it is my wonder drug and puts her right to sleep without any side affect.

    Hope this helps!


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.