Friday, February 13, 2009

More on Bubs ...

... as if this post wasn't enough.

It seems there is a wide variety of information and opinions out there, depending who you talk to. I have spoke with two pediatricians about Mason's inconsistent behavior and both have told me, "Welcome to the world of boys."

I do believe whole heartedly that boys are so different than girls. Err ... I guess I should say many boys, so as to not completely generalize. They are much more active, they learn slower ... the list goes on. Somewhere in the middle of that is where I get confused with what is normal and what is not normal.

Today was a hard day.

I spent about an hour before school talking to Mason about appropriate behavior. I discussed the five categories on his daily chart and explained in detail what those things meant. We had a really good morning ... he even showered, got dressed and brushed his teeth with little to no fight. Now that is progress. I told him if he earned all five of his stickers at school, that I would take him to Disney on Ice this weekend.

I had so much confidence in him. We had great discussions ... I really thought he was going to be able to do it.

When I picked him up from school, the first thing I did after we got in the car was look at his daily chart.

He got three out of five stickers.

"Mason had a hard time following directions today. He was reminded several times."

"Mason was pulled out of PE class today for being rude and disrespectful to his friends."

I honestly just lost it ... I cried and cried. It wasn't his fault that I had myself geared up to see five stars ... but at the same time I just wanted to know why he was acting this way.

He got upset after seeing me upset and spent some time in his room until I could get the girls down for a nap. After that, Mason and I spent time together talking about what happened at school. And his behavior the remainder of the day was great ... I don't get it.

I have contemplated keeping Mason home for a week and I have told him this as well. But I'm not sure if that will achieve anything. He loves going to school ... he loves it. Keeping him home from school would definitely leave its mark on him, but I'm not sure that is the answer.

Just tonight, he said, "Mom! In a couple days we have the circus at school. Please let me go back to that school, Mom. You have to let me go back. Can I try one more time? Please Mom?!"

Talk about break my heart. I love this kid with all of my soul ... I just wish I could pick his brain a little bit.

I have read a lot today about alternative diets ... in addition to removing the artificial coloring, which we have done all along for the most part. It is all very interesting ... and intimidating ... and most likely time consuming.

But for me, that is my first step in trying to rectify his behavior, beyond the sticker charts. I did read a lot about ADHD today as well. I even took a few online questionnaires ... most of which we failed, meaning he probably is showing signs of ADHD.

But those questionnaires are for older kids and many of the questions were hard to answer for a kid Mason's age. I digress. I am trying to keep in mind that if he does have ADHD, he cannot control these behaviors. I have read so much about kids who have this diagnosis saying that their brain was foggy prior to treatment. Foggy, as in ... they can't think clearly and they can't control themselves.

So with that ... I have to try to find a happy medium while we work through this. It comes and it goes ... and this happens to be a particularly bad week.

Despite it all, he is still my sweet little boy that I love so much. And I hate to air his dirty laundry, but this is life ... and that is what this is all about. Life ... the good and the not so good.


  1. I know that you have to do what is best for you and your precious boy, I mean this comment as support, not assvice. :)

    I feel like you could be describing my 8 year old. He is easily distracted by bright shiny things (or thoughts rattling around in his head). He's a really good boy, but he gets in trouble in school for talking too much, too loudly, not using his time wisely, that kind of thing--not all the time, but occasionally.

    I truly think a lot of it is just normal boy behavior. I do not think my little guy has ADHD, and I would be really careful about drawing that conclusion with Mason. I think schools are just set up to not be able to accommodate enthusiastic, bright little boys. They're expected to sit down, be quiet, do their work, and many are just not capable of that. That doesn't mean something's wrong.

    Wherever this journey takes you, know that you are a great mom. Keep giving it all you've got.

    PS--I think 3 out of 5 isn't so bad for the first day. Baby steps. Behavior doesn't change over night, it will take him a while to change the behaviors that are so instinctive to him.

    good luck.

  2. (((Bethany))) Just thought you might need a hug :)

  3. This may be WAY of base. And I don't know enough about your family dynamics and the dynamics at school to really weigh in.. however. HAve you considered that the 'good' child.. doesn't get a lot of attention. That as parents and teachers we tend to DEAL with the inappropriate behavior quicker than we recognize good behavior. Teachers are trained to focus on the problems you miss.. not all the ones you get right.

    And Mason may have made a connection between having adults, parents.. family and friends really LOOK at him and talk to him when he's acting up more so than when he's doing everything right.

    Just think about that for a minute.

    His behavior is inconsistent.. if it were really ADD or ADHD ... wouldn't it be more consistent and less sporadic?

    As for not following directions. Maybe your son is not a 'verbal' learner.. is the teacher giving verbal directions or does she write them on the board? How old is Mason? Is he old enough to have a small notebook and pencil and list out the directions then check them off the list when he's done everything? People learn verbally, visually or kenesthetically. (by action) I'd try figuring out how he learns.. then you might see why he has these occasional 'acting' out times.

    Oh and I haven't found it true that boys learn slower at all.. boys mature at a slower rate (behaviorally) Boys need and crave physical stimulation more than girls.. ie give a boy a box of crayons.. he may color for 5 minutes but pretty soon he's lobbing them across the room like they are missiles.
    Girls will color all day.

    One last piece of advice.. Don't over analyze everything. That's what we do as parents. Just because he acts up in school doesn't mean he's headed for jail... I got in trouble frequently in school.. and today, other than the occasional speeding ticket, I'm doing okay. lol{{{HUGS}}}

  4. Well, I'm just sending you a hug...and I'll see you guys soon enough and I can't wait to see him again. He really is a great boy with such a big heart! Kisses Mason...and you'll figure this out Beth, I know you will, you'll conquer this mountain!

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  6. Just read the other post. He's a baby Bethany. He's Five.. I was thinking he is in second grade. Five is not even mandatory for school yet. And I'm pretty sure he's a visual learner. Stop stressing!! And when you get a report on YOUR son.. in preschool... Why don't you get a report on the other kids in his class? I can bet you he's not the only child acting like a child at school... you are just probably one of the only parents who cares how her kid is at school. {{{HUGS}}}} Repeat after me.. "he is just a baby.."

  7. Praying you guys have better days and a better week next week! Mason sounds like a great kid and he is only 5. Maybe he seems like he is older to you since both girls are not "typical". I know when I am around other kids Noah's age or younger, I think they are way older because well, they seem to be compared to my Noah. All three of your kids are just too sweet!

  8. Could you go and observe at school? Watch him in class, during free play, etc??? Maybe there is a trigger that you would pick up on that the teacher is not noticing. Just a thought.

  9. I would agree with other posters that you have to be careful about jumping into a ADD/ADHD diagnosis. However, if you do end up having him evaluated, or are just looking for some information on how the brain "works" with ADD/ADHD I would suggest this site:

    My sister just had her son (11) evaluated last week and was very pleased with what they found out.

    Hang in there!

  10. Bethany~
    You are such an amazing Mom!! I have laughed, cried and been completely awe struck by your blog. You have really put a message on my heart to consider adoption. I have always told me family that this is something that I longed for, but you have really made this seem so much easier to obtain!!! I realize that the journey was rough at times, but you also say it with such grace! In all your entries the love you have for all your babies is so apparent, and I just get so excited to see a new entry each time I view your blog. Keep up your awesome work!!

    Your last couple entries talking about Mason and his behavior struck me with such certainty and I felt compelled to say something that I'm now a huge believer in!! I have watched my sister and bother-in law struggle for the last 7 years with my nephew and his apparent behavior that we had been told by several pediatric specialists was….anger issues, typical boy behavior, a child that wasn’t being challenged enough, ADD vs. ADHD, reasoning skill imbalance..etc. Mind you my sister is a licensed social worker and my brother in-law is a school counselor, so we thought they knew what “normal” was. They also are vegetarians and each organic foods, so they thought that could possibly not be the issue. My nephew from back to infancy was very fussy and angry. He also was/is very advanced for his age (walking at 9 months, letter and number recognition at 1.5, reading at 4), so we thought he was just brighter than normal, therefore he needed more out of life then all the other kids. The more my sister researched this, the more determined she was to not medicate her son if that it truly not what he needed. In doing so, she found tons of research about the link between food allergies and behavior, and not just children have these issues. Honestly, when she 1st told me about this, I was very suspicious only because when you think of allergies you think..vomiting, headaches, breathing changes, itching…..etc. I didn’t think about anger, acting out, screaming, “zoning out" and so on. She bought the book on the Feingold Diet ( which explained everything out down to which brands to buy, but how to start your child’s intake back to basics and slowly adding one thing at a time back to see how the behavior changes. I must tell you that the family noticed a HUGE and I mean HUGE difference within days. We found out that he was allergic to tomato’s and apples (salicylic acid) amongst other foods and especially artificial dyes that are in foods. I too tried this myself as an experiment and found that I too had a huge allergy to artificial dyes as well. The headaches, sore throat and such that I had lived with for so long cleared up really quick!! Keep in mind that this is not a cheap fix on your grocery budget, but the payoff if it works is GREAT on the family dynamics!!! My sister has now convinced her other smaller children’s pre-school to adopt a Feingold modified diet structure as a test, to see if they can see a marked improvement in the behaviors of those children. WOW oh WOW!!! I’m not sure if this will be of any help to you and your family, but as someone who was skeptical about this from the beginning, I’m hooked!!


  11. I have 2 teenage boys- I think you
    can't make a diagnosis until
    grade 1 or 2- Didn't Mason just
    turn five? He is still developping-
    It is like a teenager- a 14 yr old
    is much different then an 18 yr old-
    Wait until your son is 6 or 7
    by then he should be able to control impulsiveness- but until
    then he is a preschooler- you cannot expect school age behavior
    Expectation are so high for kids
    now- school should start at 6-
    we expect them to enter school
    at 3 and be reading by senior
    Trust me- he will grow up so fast
    and change so much in the next
    few years!
    We stress so much more about our
    firstborns! It is all new to
    us also.

  12. Arhh my heart brakes for you it really does.
    Whatever is going on with Mason, Foods…or ADHD or whatever, you have to remember he doesn’t wan to be in trouble, he doesn’t want to upset you….

    Ok an hour or even 20 mins talking before school, really will do nothing to help him at school. I’m sorry to say that but it wont. Have you read any of Dr. Greens Books on ADHD. I think they are wonderful even for typical boys. If not check out his site

    Another thing that you might want to think about also (and I’m sorry this is adding to all the other area’s you have to investigate, but it’s worth it) is Sensory Disorders.
    My youngest was / is showing signs of ADHD, (he has problems with natural food as well) he has lots of Quirks as well. he can fly off the handle then be crying because he is Sooo sorry, it tears me up.

    We seen a Pead who said he has all the Quirks of Autism, but none of the social parts of Autism. She had us see a Paediatric OT for his low tone as well as all these behaviour problems.
    Long story short he has Sensory disorder.

    Fluoro lights set him off; he can hold together for so long then he starts melting down. My mum has fluoro environmental light through her house, Matthew 5years has his worst days at my mums. Sounds also set him off, these are odd because he likes to TV up, but different sounds do send him off. At school he wants to good, he has even asked me at home not to tell his teacher when he is acting up lol.
    Now the teacher has said that when it all gets too much for him, he hides under the table, with his hands over his ears. First day he did this, they tried to encourage him out. I just asked them to leave him and it’s working out good.
    So how does this relate to Mason? I just wonder if when Mason has had enough if this is when he might just be needing time out? Maybe the teachers could take some notes of the time of day, activities, what is happening just before to Mason acts up.
    There might be something in that?

    I know you said you discussed the daily chart before school. But I wonder if school and home could be separate. One thing I did that I do regret is, bring the school stuff home. This time around for me, what happens at school stays at school. Yes I still support the teacher and talk to my child, either at school or while travelling home, but once home we start fresh. Other wise I find they are being either punished or having to think all day about something that happened earlier that day.

    Maybe to your list add a Pead OT, just to cover that as well. the Princple at our school was telling me how for 8mths they couldn’t’ work out why this one boy, would all of a sudden start acting up. Then one day another teacher was in the room, she realised that the groundsman had started one of those ticking sprinklers, an dit was that nose that irritated the child,. He started to smart mouth (potty mouth)…
    So you never know it could be a mix of things and a Pead OT could really help you work though it all. It’s always good to have help hey.

    One last thing lol ok to your doing great, and I know you know ADHD is only one possibility. I think it’s great your looking into foods….

  13. Bethany hope you don’t mind me posting this

    Kimberly I checked out the site you posted, it’s fantastic, I posted a sister site for Bethany earlier but this one has all the safe foods listed for UAS. I was taken back to the Fail-safe sister website, but I quickly returned I felt the site was set out better and easier to understand.
    I like that they recommend removing salicylic first, as that is where I started by accident lol thanks for posting such a great site. Now back to reading.

  14. I do believe boys are different than girls, I do believe the are slower to mature, if this behaviors are only happening at school I would advise you to pull him out and try again next year, I am sure he's a great kid no matter what and he isn't doing any of this in purpose or just to torture mommy, I believe he lacks the impulse control to stop himself, I think is great that you are very aware of our sons behavior even at an early age, I don't think dismissing everything as a boy thing is good for your son or any boys for that matter, while who people who read this say yep my boy does that, I think the problem lies in how often does he do it, If he were getting a little note once a month I wouldn't worry about it but if it's at a point where it's affecting his daily life then you should do something about it, definitely start with diet since you already know he reacts to some foods btw most therapist won't diagnose or medicate a kid that young for adhd but they can give you tools to help him, I know the idea of therapy maybe scary, but they can help.

  15. Hugs my friend!! I got your email yesterday about one hour before I picked up Nate. We had the same talk before school that you had with Mason. Sure enough, there was a note in his box and the teacher was waiting to talk to us. He lost family movie night which he looks forward to every week. I appreicate your honest posts and opening up your heart. I'm learning a lot through you and your blog comments!!

  16. Best of luck to you. Just dont jump the gun to quickly. He is so young. To put him on med's at this early age doesnt really give him a fair chance.

    Did you ever think maybe he is acting out due to getting a new sister? Even though he loves her to's clear to see! She did get quite a bit of attention. You were off to visit her and bring her home. Leaving him behind. Maybe that has something to do with it. Just a

    When my 19+ year old son was in 1rst grade. He and his buddies were in trouble all the time. I thought I would lose my mind! The teacher and the principal were very busy with these 10 or so boys. They were in and out of the office, in the hall, sitting out of recess...etc, etc. All of those boys, with the exception of 1 are all ok today. One did eventually end up having ADHD and placed on med's. All the rest of the boys were just plain boys!
    Chin up. You will weather the storm!
    Joany and Carly

  17. Hi Bethany, I'm a regular lurker and haven't commented before, but I felt compelled to this time. I think one of the best things you can do is observe Mason and see how he is compared to the rest of the class. I am a first-grade teacher and I have a student who I suspect is ADHD (non-hyperactive). I think if anyone observed this child for one day, they would definitely see that his behavior is not like a typical boy - his behavior is more extreme. I have spoken to my student's mom and she does not think it is an attention issue. I've encouraged her to come watch him and see how the class is run and see how the other children behave just so she can see my concerns. She has not done this.
    I think 5 is a little early to be overly concerned about ADHD, but it's good to keep it in mind. I know some posters have commented that the schools are not ideal for boys and their behavior, which I understand to some degree, but if the majority of boys are able to function in the classroom, then it may be an indication that your son is having some problems. Boys are squirrely in general, but especially at a young age. I think you should look at - is Mason more squirrely than the rest? I know it's not a good idea to compare kids, but it might help for you to see how the majority of kids behave to give you an indication of if there is a problem. If for example, there are several boys or students who are having difficulty sitting still, completing certain tasks, etc., it might be the teacher's expectations are too high. And Mason is like the rest of them and does not have an attention concern. In my experience, behavior charts for the ADHD kid do not work - they are not trying to misbehave, it's beyond their control and cannot be blamed for their behavior.
    Good luck! And be proud that you are trying to do what's best for Mason and are concerned about him. I can't tell you how many parents do not seem to care - i see more than I can believe. I would love to have a parent like you in my classroom!

  18. Hunter does great at school but is HORRIBLE for me at home, I just don't get it. Boys are hard, but keep doing your research, you know Mason the best, it may not just be a boy thing so don't let others try to convince you of that. Keep up the good mommy work!!!

  19. The behavior examples you have given don't sound really odd for me as a parent. Two of my boys seem to behave exactly as your Mason does. They are a bit wild, love physical play, forget whatever you told them five minutes ago, try to undertake 100 things at the time etc.

    What you described in your earlier post about Mason liking to appear cool and tough before his friends is something I really recognize. Not just from my own boys and their friends but also from older boys.

    I volunteer at a local teenage centre where I give free classes and homework help to middle school and high school children.

    Especially the middle school boys are like that. When you have them one on one they are able to concentrate and have an interest in learning. However when we have a teacher shortage and I teach three boys or so at the same time it is often much more difficult. They love showing off in front of their friends and tell me the most ridiculous and wild stories just to appear cool. I think it's typical boys (or children's behavior) and don't really care. I let them tell their stories. I also notice how physical they are with each other and are often play fighting (of course this does sometimes end in tears). These boys are very nice children. They have great humor, they are smart and can be so sweet. It just doesn't always work to put them in the same room:)

    In the examples you have given about Mason I really don't see anything to worry about. However what you could try is see if a qualified third person can come in the school one day and observe his behavior (without telling Mason of course) so that you can have an unbiased opinion of an objective person. Sometimes the school can arrange this as they have contact with people specialised in behaviour such as a child psychologist or a remedial teacher.

    I would also advise not to mix up school and home too much and keep them seperate.

    I also wonder about excluding an active child from PE. In the school of my children you have do a lot to get excluded from a class They wouldn't get excluded just for talking back or something.

    If I talk with my children they always promise to improve their behavior and they are incredibly sincere when they do. However they forget five minutes later. I also remind them constantly what to do and just putting their shoes on can have me say "put your shoes on" in five different ways and constantly louder before they actually do it.

    Keep courage! Mason sounds like an incredible sweet, smart and overall great kid!

  20. Hey Bethany, I am certainly no expert, so won't give an opinion about Mason, but wanted to pass on something I learned about ADHD yesterday.

    I happen to have ADD and was talking with a woman who goes to my church about it. She is a MFT, but also has three children who all have ADHD and has done a lot of reading of research papers, etc. She shared a lot with me, but I can't remember most of it, but one thing she said I found interesting:

    She said some people say ADHD should be call Adrenaline Deficit Disorder. It is actually caused by lack of oxygen in the brain. Moving around can help boost your adrenaline, thus oxygen to help a person with ADD focus more. Perhaps the purpose of the hyperactivity? Anyway, she told me studies have shown that for people with ADD you can get 2 hours of good focus for every 30 minutes of exersize. I have to say, I really think this is true for me. I'm sure Mason is already pretty active, but thought I would pass this on. (By the way, this is a loose paraphrase of what she said. I hope I got it right.)

  21. sending you hugs!! You know him best so go with that!!!!!!!

  22. Bethany~ I know I commented on your earlier post about this. Just remember what I said. I did ALL the test, even for a 5 yr old (at the time) I couldnt answer all the questions exactly, but after I realized that ADHD was Coleson's problem, I became sad that all I did was get onto him, or punish him, take things away all because of something he couldnt control. It was not his fault his little brain just couldn't focus.

    I believe once I brought myself to realize, "Rachel, your son does have this" it was much easier to accept and move on and help him.

    He is a wonderful boy and always has been, but he is even better now. Like I said, he LOVES to take his medicine because he now feels just like the rest of his class and he's not embarrased anymore for always being in trouble or struggling with his work.

    Let me know if you want any more info.