It's day six on the ADHD medicine for Nathan, and I am pleased to report that he is doing splendidly! I've been keeping a journal of his ups and downs so that I can show it to his pediatrician at the end of the 30 day trial period. My mom suggested doing this, and for the 328 billionth time in my life, I'm so glad I took her advice! It's helped me to keep track of his behavior, and to be more aware of his progress because I know that I need to write it all down. I tend to notice things better when I know it's going on a list. (Thank you OCD, thank you.)
The first day, we did not see much of a change in terms of his behavior, but we expected it to take a few days for the medication to build up in his system. Day two brought more focus, less distractability and less superfluous movement, but his personality was completely intact and was not at all "zombie-like" or depressed.
Day three was a Saturday, and he had great success working on a school project for about two hours. Not only did he focus on the work at hand, he was not distracted by the normal sounds of the household going on around him. Trevor was cooking dinner and I was playing with Grace rather loudly, and he still sat there and completed his work. The old Nathan would have taken any opportunity to leap off the chair and into the fray until he had escalated it to inappropriate levels of jubilant yelling and laughing. That was always part of his problem...not knowing when to stop. We would lecture, discipline, encourage, threaten and talk until we were blue in the face and he still was unable (we thought unwilling) to calm down. I can see now that his exuberance was linked to his inability to control impulsive behavior.
He was able to sit still during dinner without fidgeting (any more than a normal 71/2 year old, that is!) and jumping up and down in his seat. This has been an ongoing battle with him for years. He could not sit still to save his life, and now we are able to have interesting conversations at dinner without constantly telling him to sit down and eat!
His teachers have noticed a marked improvement in his behavior and focus as well. They have been sending me updates by email that have been a Godsend for me. I was so worried about this medication and it's potential side effects, and it was such a blessing to know that his teachers were looking out for him and keeping us informed.
The very best part of the medication is that we haven't lost Nathan. He is still the sweet, intelligent, kind child that I know and love and his personality is completely intact. He still wants to run around and play with Grace, but it's not out of control. He still laughs loudly and appreciatively at things only a seven year old finds amusing, and he still asks me crazy questions and makes insanely astute observations about the world around him. He's still Nathan, just a little more under control. To be honest, he seems happier to me as though he is finally comfortable with himself. He's proud that he can do his best at school.
The other day he said, "I'm not always thinking about the next thing I'm gonna do." This was huge for him, because that was the very heart of his focus issue. His brain was always flitting to and fro to the next thing he wanted to do, no matter how much he was enjoying the current activity. Now he is able to appreciate what he is doing and do his best.
The only side effect that we have noticed so far is difficulty falling asleep, and even this seems to be easing up a bit. He's always been a good sleeper, and instead of sleeping 10 hours a night, he's sleeping 8.5. Not too much of a change, but enough to make me keep track of his waking and sleeping schedule. We give him his pill around 5:45am to try and offset the sleeplessness a bit, and I think that as his body gets used to the medicine this side effect will lessen.
The thirty days aren't nearly finished yet, and we still have a journey ahead of us but I am greatly encouraged by what we've seen so far.