Tucker has been off of his ADHD medicine for a week now. The last medicine he was taking was Adderall (which Alec had nicknamed "Madderall"). During the last few weeks, Tucker had numerous meltdowns at school and home. He had become increasingly aggressive,angry, and defiant. No one could pinpoint his triggers so we constantly walked on eggshells as to not "poke the bear" - a term Tucker had heard about himself and had begun using as justification for his behavior.
Tucker had begun coming to my classroom as an escape. The last time he came, he was followed by our school counselor and one of our special ed. teachers. We eventually got Tucker out of my room into the hall where he crawled under a table and growled at us, refusing to get up. I hugged him and told him jokes which made him laugh (I'm hilarious!), but he still wouldn't get up. A class was out in the hall taking a restroom break and my heart was breaking for my boy. Eventually, I went back into my room and let those who are educated, trained, and experienced in taking care of students in this situation, take care of my sweet Tucker.
That situation (and a come-to-Jesus talk) finally opened my eyes. My coworkers, friends, and family, really do want the best for Tucker and our family. I need to let go and let those around us - our village - help us take care of him. Since that day, I felt a weight off my shoulders. I knew Tucker was in the best hands at our school. He still had meltdowns, but he didn't come to my room again. The amazing team at my school did their jobs and took care of us.
Just before break, I met with my principal and our school psychologist. They asked me how Tucker was as a baby and growing up. Oh man. Can I just tell you about this kid? He was the best baby! In fact, he made parenting look so easy that we had another right away! The thing is, he always was and still is, so smart, funny, compassionate, silly, and sweet. It's just something had gotten in the way of his true self. We got to see our real boy just before bedtime when we played games or colored then snuggled, read books, and told jokes.
My principal asked - what if Tucker doesn't take the medicine? Well we tried that a couple of weeks ago and...let's just say - I promised his teacher to never take him off of it again! But the thing is, he was only off the medicine for 3 days. Maybe he needed to be off of it longer to work itself out of his system.
So being the wise parents we are, we took him off of his medicine 3 days before Christmas! And guess what? He was pretty wired and bouncing off the walls, but he wasn't angry. If he didn't get his way, he was quick to recover. He didn't have meltdowns that would last hours. The word "hate" was rarely heard.
And he began eating. He ate like he couldn't stop. He was so hungry and we let him eat anything and everything he wanted. When I asked if he wanted breakfast or lunch or a snack, the answer was always "yes"! His appetite was back!
Tucker's true self has been shining through more and more each day. Sure he still has moments of defiance, but not anywhere near what he had before, and his anger and aggression have subsided quite a bit. He hasn't had to sit still and focus very long so we still need to have conversations and make a decision about how to proceed once school starts.
So what now? A dear friend of ours gave us the name of a new child psychologist who we'll be seeing in a couple of weeks. Of course, Tucker has a new medicine to try (Concerta), but the pill has to be swallowed whole which has led to an enormous amount of frustration, anger, and hopelessness. But I'm not convinced the answer is in another pill. We've put so much hope and faith into every pill he's taken over the last 2 years only to be discouraged and disappointed over and over. With each pill, we just keep losing our boy, and we just want our smart, funny, compassionate, silly, and sweet boy back, for good.