Nikon Flash Class

I actually took these photos tonight at a Nikon flash class at National Camera Exchange.


Bit of grace for Theo

I know, I know. It has been two months.
I'm not sure I can say exactly why my posts have slowed down so much. But I think one reason is that the thing I most want to write about I haven't been ready to write about.

About two months ago we took another interesting turn with Theo. We had another one of those awful IEP meetings where I ended up crying and the staff all looked at each other over their glasses and I could almost hear them "tsk"ing. It's the scenario where the special ed experts are trying to tell the anxious parents that they have missed something and have to get a new diagnosis, but of course they can't say this so the conversation is roundabout and obscure and terribly aggravating. I'm always ready to be aggravated at those meetings, with everyone trying to manage my delightful child who isn't fitting in, isn't doing what he is supposed to.

We had him tested for ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

And the diagnosis came back: ADD (no hyperactivity.)

Now, I've always thought of myself as the kind of mom who would fight medication, would try all the organic diets, etc. I have all the articles and the books on my shelves already. But it was immediate for me -- we decided to try the medication. (Giving amphetamines to my baby every morning??!! I was a wreck, and he knew it.)

So Kelly and I sent him off to school that day and anxiously awaited his return home. We sat him down at the dining room table with a snack and watched, dumbfounded, as Theo talked and talked and talked and talked, coherently, fascinatingly, and thoroughly. This is not what we were used to.

We now have -- not a new Theo, but a different one, or maybe much more of him. Kelly calls him "Theo Mach 2." And we are astounded.

Some little circuit in his brain is now working, a circuit we hardly missed. We wondered why he didn't talk much, why he couldn't follow directions, why he couldn't manage conversations, why he couldn't put his socks and shoes on when he was supposed to. Now he pretty much does. And he talks, all day long. There is a lot going on inside his head. Now some little circuit, some bit of map in his head, has finally been repaired, drawn complete, finished, at least temporarily every day until the medication wears off. During those hours we are getting to know our son all over again.

He is demanding a relationship with all of us in a new way. He is insisting on connecting with kids in a different way. He is ready to try new things. And he talks, all the time.

He is catching up on all he missed the last several years. He is six years old, and Theo is now rehearsing everything, every transition he's been through, in his memory, which is vast. "Do you remember in 2007 when we first saw our new house?" "Do you remember in 2007 when I had a friend for two weeks?" "Do you remember in 2006 when we were in the old house?" "Do you remember..." We had to re-enact his 4th birthday party the other night, complete with streamers in the house and a dance party. He never spoke of any of this before. Now he is telling us what he remembers, rehearsing it, and, I supposed, processing it all.

Now he says, "I don't like that." "I want to do this." "I don't want to do that." He and his brother are fighting all the time, like brothers are supposed to. He has opinions about what he will and won't do with his time, like he's supposed to. And he is sticking up for himself. He might even be learning how to be naughty -- we aren't sure about that yet. He's been covering about four years of developmental tasks in the last 6 weeks. I can't imagine what summer will be like.

It seems like a miracle. A tiny little dose of a very powerful drug and Theo is articulate and present. We don't know all of what this means for the future, but it's a bit of grace right now.