What is sweeter than maple syrup? Getting to spend a day with my family, driving around southern Maine! Today was Maine Maple Syrup Sunday, one Sunday each year dozens of sugar shacks in Maine throw open their doors and welcome in the general public. They demonstrate how maple syrup is made, they often sell maple flavored goodies (whoopie pies, donuts, ice cream with maple syrup, candies, maple kettle corn, etc.) and a few of them offer hay rides as well. We have been for the last 3 years and we have a great time but today was even sweeter…
You see, two and a half weeks ago we had a visit with our developmental pediatrician. We’ve been stable on Monkey’s Tenex (for ADHD) for some time but we were faced with a new concern. As he slowed down, it became more and more apparent that he was having trouble with anxiety. He’s always had difficulties with certain transitions but it was ramping up at an alarming rate to the point that even familiar and comfortable locations (home or Grammy’s house) scared him. You could see the fear in his face as we approached the door…heck, at home, we could see the fear start blocks before we even turned onto our street. Home is his favorite, safest place. He loves to be home…but the transitions…oh, he would be covered in snot and sobbing by the time we got his shoes off and it took a LOOOOONNNNGGGG time for him to settle back down.
We talked to the developmental ped. about this over a period of a few months because anxiety in our boys can be cyclical…up for few weeks and then down….depending on outside circumstances. Monkey’s was not going down. It was spreading and affecting more and more of his life. So, two and half weeks ago we started Monkey on Celexa. We told his teacher so she could watch him for any adverse reactions and we told no one else.
Last Thursday, the mom of one of Monkey’s friends commented that Monkey was making so much more eye contact and he was talking more. We’d seen signs but we WANT this to work and so we really weren’t sure if it wasn’t just hopeful thinking but this made our hearts pitter patter just a little bit harder. Today, was the big test.
Monkey had a LOT of transitions today. He was in and out of Grammy’s van a dozen times. We stopped at a half dozen farms and every single one of them was packed with people. Kids running around, adults milling around. If we wanted treats we had to stand in line. And he DID it. He was the sweet, funny boy we see at home. He talked to perfect strangers, his language was all on point (he didn’t get stuck on phrases from TV shows like he does when he’s anxious), he stood in line with us for 15 minutes at one point. No fussing. No whining. No screaming. He just stood there and talked about the animals he could see and the food he could smell. He walked into the sugar houses, he walked into a store even, without any issues. No tears. No trying to run away. He pet a Belgian DRAFT HORSE. No dropping to the ground like a limp noodle. No pulling on my hand to keep me from getting closer.
Once, when we were getting into the car, Jeanie slipped. Jeanie is my mom’s cousin, she’s always at family events. Monkey has met here many times but he has not ever talked to her, except to yell “BYE!” at her when prompted. Today, when she slipped, he asked her, “You alright?” He took her hand, he initiated it even. He talked to her, greeting her every time she came back to the car…by name, “Hi, Jeanie!”
He was a changed boy. I have tears in my eyes thinking about this day…I’ve never seen him so calm and so relaxed.
Then, as the cherry on the sundae Sunday, when we got close to home…the spot where the anxiety always starts kicking in and the whining starts…he was perfectly quiet. He simply kept talking about Buzz Lightyear.
I know the days won’t always be like this but I am so hopeful that this will let Monkey live without some of that fear and anxiety that have been tripping him up for so long.