Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Emotionally tied to the railroad tracks

Here we are, cruising along into the third week of summer camp! I saw the head counselor of all the intermediate campers (Noah's camp level) last Friday evening when we took the boys out for dinner. She said Noah was doing great as far as she knew and that she hadn't heard anything indicating there were problems.

We saw the owner of the camp at a picnic on Saturday and he said he hadn't heard of any problems either. No news is good news as far as he's concerned!

I spoke with Noah's behavior specialist, who oversees his TSS, last week, and she said it sounded like everything was going great!

You know where this is headed right?

Yeah, yesterday Noah had a melt down at the end of the day in front of the head counselor. The intensity of his reaction definitely freaked her out. 

So now we find out from his TSS that he's been having problems all along.  The typical Noah problems with not listening and refusing to acknowledge redirection, but more concerning to me is that he is still being physical with the other kids, although I still don't have a good feeling as to how bad it is. He's also having more problems socializing with the other kids than I was expecting. I really thought the aggressive behavior had significantly improved, now I'm not so sure.

It's not that I thought Noah was miraculously cured when I wrote this post. I knew we were seeing big improvements, but I knew it was improvement, not that we suddenly had a perfect child. He's certainly acting better at home, and more in control of himself most of the time, but he still struggles. We are, after all, having to use the new behavior techniques we learned a few weeks ago.

I fully expected there to be at least some issues at camp. Really, I did. 

But at the same time when I heard from his TSS last night that there have been problems all along I felt like I had been hit over the head from behind. 

And there I was riding the roller coaster again and plummeting. Because my emotions are so tied into how Noah is behaving that I feel like the old-time damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks by Snidely Whiplash. 

Only I know there is no Dudley Doright coming to rescue me (or Noah). Even though my rational brain knows it isn't true, my emotional brain feels like I am once again failing as a parent. It is so hard not to find myself falling into that abyss every time Noah struggles.

Even though I know I handled Noah like a master parent yesterday after hearing this. Because despite his meltdown at the end of the day (which may have had a lot to do with them giving him his medication two hours late), he did awesome during archery, and was the star student during karate. So I took him out for water ice (you can imagine the shock value in that!) to celebrate how great he did in karate and archery, instead of taking him home and punishing him like I would have done in the past. And we had a great talk about how he was feeling about things at camp. And I had a chance to talk to him about why he has a TSS and why he gets in trouble more than the other kids, at a time that his brain was open to hearing it. 

So even though my emotions are still tied too tightly to how Noah is doing, I'm going to keep reminding myself that we are winning more battles than we are losing lately. And that what we gained a couple weeks ago was hope, and you can't take hope away that easily.

I just need to learn how to untie the ropes faster!



  1. Thanks for sharing. I think a lot of "us moms" feel like that, no matter what challenges our kids are facing.

  2. It has always bothered me when teachers, counselors and the likes don't keep us in the loop. Especially in your situation. They shouldn't hoard the bad times and then say there have been problems all along when a meltdown occurs. It's maddening!