days 4, 5 & 6

Weekend:  Days 4 and 5 Concerta free.  On Saturday, Julia took a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.  I woke her for supper.  She ate, did some homework, read a bit, watched half of Death of a Salesman on YouTube, watched a bit of Great British Bakeoff and then asked to go to sleep.  She was snoring by 9.  She didn’t have a nap on Sunday but again she was in bed and asleep by 9.  

She is eating.  Like a Hobbit, we say — second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.  She was ready for them all.  She went through a week’s worth of fruit in 2.5 days and yesterday, she ate the crust on a piece of pizza and said she loved bread.  She never eats crusts and has never loved bread.  Is it hunger, a desire for the physical act of eating and/or taste?

When she was not sleeping or eating, she was able to do all the work we do at home.  She was definitely unfocused but not unfocusable.  She seemed to be very interested in doing her work, especially in Earth Science. She started working on a project about hot desserts, one of which is in the part of Australia that we visited.  She wants to show our photos in school.

On a sad note, Julia recognized that she is not making progress on her cello.  It is true.  She has been stuck at the end of what could be Book 1 Suzuki for a long time.  Nothing is easy—patterns elude her, anything but the simplest rhythm is a belabored learning exercise, different bow strokes and positions come painfully slow.  Once she learns the tune, she gets somewhat better but not great.  I think part of her still enjoys playing but another part would give up tomorrow.  My message to her has always been: We do hard things until they are easy.  Not quite sure where that message is right now.

A lack of focus showed up in mundane tasks.  When she was getting dressed yesterday, she picked out a long and short sleeved shirt but they didn’t go with the skirt and leggings she picked.  She went back for different leggings and skirt but brought back a third shirt twice before she got it right.  She also “lost” her  retainer when she put it into the plastic container next to the retainer box.

On the very positive side: Julia has been much more interested in me and even affectionate.  She was very happy to see a friend of ours on Friday.  Yesterday, we spent the afternoon at FUS — we both had meetings at different times and a bit of in-between time to do some of the earth science research. During my meeting, she did a bit of writing and drawing in her journal.  When I checked on her during a break, she wasn’t doing anything.  She may have been napping a bit.  She told me she was thinking—not something she ordinarily says.

When it was my turn to wait for her during Youth group, I sat pretty far away from the classroom they were in.  However, I could not help but overhear Julia at the meeting.  She was loud and talking a mile a minute.  Her voice echoed through hallways.  There were only boys at the meeting and I think for the most part they ignore her.  The leaders may have given up trying to get her to do the tasks they set out.  

Monday, today: Day 6 and I sent her to school.  Her doc suggested that I do not warn school ahead of time, rather I should wait to see what they report.  If there are going to be reports, they should come today. 

From what I’ve read and what I’ve observed in Julia, ADHD affects her perception of time (or lack thereof), her understanding of cause and effect, her motivation, and an inability to structure her physical activity and sleep. However, this weekend for the first time ever, I asked her if she was tired and she answered, yes. Ok, this is a small question but I am sensing some shift, unless I am making it all up in my longing to move her forward.  It is almost too complex for me to figure out. I could use 20 years of scientific research experience to give me some perspective.

Years ago, before Julia began to take meds, I was completely against it.  I wanted to see what we could work out naturally.  I was appalled that we began with her taken three different meds. I think it is true that her drugs disciplined her mind in a way she could not do for herself.  They helped her focus enough to learn.  I think they helped with her mood and meltdowns and very stubborn behavior.  How much of this is what her Concerta does? She has not stopped the two other meds she usually takes.  As each day unfolds now, I am looking to see who she is and what she is like.  So many questions, so few answers.  And always, the tickling questions about creativity.

Finally, to the extent that she stopped taking Concerta to help with her scratching/picking her scalp, she has been wearing hats 24/7, sleeping in gloves and holding to a resolve not to touch her head.  Slowly, there are less scabs on her head and she reports less itching. We are still a few weeks away from hair growth.

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