When you have a child whose brain isn’t wired quite like the majority (Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD), it can be interesting to say the least. And in
several some situations, it can be a big challenge. When Little Man was about 4 years old, I began to notice that his emotions got big. And I mean B-I-G big!
When he was excited, he was really excited!!! In fact, he was so excited that he couldn’t eat or sleep. That’s sounds pretty normal you say. But when he would not eat for hours before a play date, and would not eat during the play date, eventually, the Little Man would hit a wall and reach breakdown and meltdown. Playdate over. Then when he would be relaxed, buckled into his car seat, he would be ravenous. Yes, I learned to have food for him to eat in the car on the way home. I also learned to not tell him about a playdate until after he had eaten at least breakfast.
When he was about 6 or 7, he was old enough that I could tell him that he had to eat at least a little bit, or he couldn’t have a play date. And I could get him (and buddy) to have at least a little snack during said playdate. These days, this excitement translates into his eating maybe half of his lunch at school, in anticipation of going out to recess.
As well as getting over excited about things, Little Man would get so angry, he would become out of control. And a number of times, he would totally trash his bedroom.
He finally got the message that it is not ok to trash his bedroom, so there are other options these days. Now, he can tell me that he feels like he has to punch or hit something. We have lots of pillows for that. And he is getting better at not exploding in the first place (which is a big deal and not easy).
One of the newer emotions that seems to run very high at times, is anxiety. And this began in the middle of first grade. Most of the anxiety centers around school, but not always. A few days ago, it reared its ugly head at the dentist.
Little Man had a teeth cleaning this past week. During that appointment, the dentist became concerned about some things, leading him to want to do further work. This other work would require 2 visits: one to make a mold of Little Man’s mouth, and a second to pull a tooth and put a spacer in. (Absolutely nothing was mentioned about having a tooth pulled; just having a spacer put in). I let Little Man know that at the second appointment, he would get to have laughing gas.
You would think that a kid would like to have laughing gas. But no! Not my kid. What the heck? He went into a full-blown panic. (Keep in mind that I did not tell him that he was going to get a needle or have a tooth pulled… and he still doesn’t know). I was more than perplexed at this reaction. Which, by now, I shouldn’t be. Because you never know where this kid’s train of thought takes him. He started saying something about not wanting to be all out of it or feel funny, and a few more things.
Then my momma spidey sense kicked in. He must have seen a video on YouTube that has him all in a wad. When I questioned him, the truth came out. Yes indeed! There is a video on YouTube of a young boy who had dental work done, and he is quite out of it.
Fast forward to the next day when we were going in “just to get a mold of Little Man’s teeth.” As we were checking in, the receptionist mentioned that the extraction would be happening today. WHAT??? Today??? Little Man went into full-blown, immediate, freak out mode. He kept saying over and over that he was supposed to get the gas next week, and that he was only prepared to have a mold made today. Crap! (I never thought about how much he has to mentally prepare himself for some things.)
The dental assistant came to the door to take us back to the procedure room, and there was no way in **** I could get Little Man to move. I told the gal that my kid was in full freak out mode about having laughing gas. I was hoping that she would have a few words that would help calm him down, but she just stood there… staring… with a blank look on her face. (At that point, I totally cursed her out in my mind for not helping me out in this situation. I think she has no kids.)
Little Man begged me to let him go outside for just a minute (no way in heck was I going for that one); but I took him out of the waiting room, into the hallway of the building. After what seemed like a lifetime of my telling him that he had to go through with this, and that I knew he could do it, and his being in freak out, shaking, pure terror mode, I suggested that we should at least go in and just talk to the dentist. For some reason, he was ok with that. (Phew!)
conned convinced Little Man to go to the exam room and talk to the dentist. (While we waited in the exam room, the dental assistant continued to be absolutely no help in trying to calm Little Man down). When the dentist came into the room, Little Man was hiding behind the door. I explained about the sheer terror and full-blown panic that the kid was experiencing, at the thought of having to have the gas today. In a moment, with just a few words, all was made right. “We don’t have to have the gas today. We can do that part of things at the next appointment.”
The relief was more than palpable. The tension and panic dissipated like the air escaping an untied balloon. And when the dentist explained what it would feel like to breathe in the astronaut gas (because it feels like you’re floating in space), Little Man’s fear about his next appointment was gone.
Now, it was my turn to be concerned. Do I tell him anything about getting a needle (one of his big-time fears) or having a tooth pulled? No. The dentist assured me that they have a story they tell the kids, and he won’t even know that a tooth has been pulled… until later on when I have to deal with him.