This is one of those posts. X-man has had a rough couple of weeks at school. So, I've had a rough couple of weeks. It's that weird mental umbilical cord that I have never been able to emotionally separate myself. I still do think that what he does totally reflects my skills or efforts as a parent. But what happens when you're the parent staying up all night worrying and waiting and reading about what you can do -- when your child appears to have anxiety. It's no secret that I have a few social anxiety issues myself. So, it's not really a shocker that our son has them. Depression runs in both sides of his family, too.
I made an appointment in October to get him in to see a pediatrician. My hope at the time was that even if the school's report regarding his attention issues were normal that she could refer us to someone to help with the sock pulling and fidgeting. But even though X-man's own behavior has gotten better in relation to his peers since the beginning of school -- he's crying a lot at school and is often unable to comfort himself. So he ends up in the office to calm down.
Today, after breakfast he doubled over in pain regarding his stomach. We've had loads of folks at our school out with the stomach bug, so I had to weigh my choices because he was past the point of mentally understanding me having a conversation about the fact that he didn't have a fever and was lying. That was going to lead to a giant, head-on struggle.
Did I really want to engage the child locks on my vehicle, tackle him to put on his socks and shoes, heave him into the car only to have him undo his belt, quickly drive him to school and shove him out the door and drive away quickly hoping he didn't chase after my vehicle (that's the mental framework he was in this morning)? No. Did I have that kind of quick witted fight in me the day after single parenting during a rather challenging child week to try to use my words to encourage him enough to get over himself to go to school? No. Have I already been emotionally eating (i.e. binging) all week because I feel like I'm just waiting, waiting, waiting for our appointment with the pediatrician on Tuesday because I feel like I've tried everything, and am coming up woefully short. Yes.
Then X-man got up, raced to the bathroom and started dry heaving and spitting into the toilet. "Mommy, I threw up a little." Well, okay then. Why don't we give him the benefit of the doubt, and I'll call the school and into work, and to my personal trainer, and to my dietician and to the babysitter that I hired so I could go see my nutritionist about my food issues and cancel. And we'll see where this goes.
Then I explained that when you are sick, you have to sit in your bed and not get out of it the whole day. And so he did. He had the radio on his alarm clock playing softly. He was reading books. He colored a bit. He did some homework pages in a sight reader book. He ate his morning bland snack. Then he ate his bland lunch in peace.
At 1:15 p.m., he claimed he was feeling much better and maybe he could come down and watch Phineas and Ferb. I said no. He had to stay in his room on his bed. I'd serve him afternoon snack and dinner in there. And then at 6:15, he'd get in the bathtub and go to bed early.
He looked not excited about it. But when he told me he was feeling better, he also pointed to the clock and told me that school was almost over, too. Strange how feeling better and school being over were put together in that sentence structure. I had to hand it to him. He almost had me.
So, I climbed into his bed with him and we talked about school. He said his stomach hurts a lot before he goes and when he's there and things go wrong. I'm going to attribute this stomach pain to anxiety. He gets worked up and starts to cry, and then the other kids make fun of him. He also makes some bad choices, and the girls tattle on him. But he won't tell me what those bad choices are. Then he said he was sad, and he didn't want to go back to school. He wants to go to a new school.
I explained that children will act like that no matter where he goes. That it happened at Next Generation, and yes, it's frustrating. But that he has his days when he doesn't make the best choices and hurts others, so he needs to understand that no one is perfect, and that everyone is doing their best.
Then I e-mailed his father about our conversation, and cc:ed it to his teacher and principal. I also made it clear that he'd be going to school tomorrow. And still he sits upstairs, on his bed. This is the most disturbing part of it all. My child hates to sit still. HATES it. Even to wait for roller coasters and cool safari rides. So, how bad is it for him in his head that he chose to sit up there all day rather than go to six hours at school?