Making Adjustments Part 3

We expected Cameron to have, by far, the easiest time adjusting to all of the changes in our lives, and on the whole he has.  His biggest adjustment here at home has been learning how to deal with having his own room.  The funny thing is that Cameron is the reason why the boys have their own rooms.

For as long as I can remember Cameron has been an insomniac.  His issues with ADHD make it difficult for him to settle down and fall asleep at night.  It used to be so bad that he would get out of bed and come into my room two or three times every single night.  That was the worst, it was seriously like having a newborn in the house again because I would get 2-3 hours of sleep in between each time he’d get up.  We worked with a psychologist for a few months and helped Cameron learn how to self soothe so that if he did wake up in the night he could get himself back to sleep without needing to wake me up too.

Even with her help though he still had trouble getting to bed at night.  There were some nights where he would still be awake well after 10, and wake up the next morning before 6.  We worried immensely about how little sleep he was getting and it didn’t help that his light sleeping habits were interrupting Brendan at night as well.  We finally talked to our pediatrician about the issue and he recommended we give Cameron melatonin at night.  We worried about giving Cameron more medication (he was already taking two different medications every day to keep his ADHD issues under control) but since it was a natural supplement vs another drug we decided to at least give it a shot.

The melatonin has worked wonders for helping Cameron at night.  One of the other issues we had with him in the evenings was once we put him to bed at 8:30 every night he would be up a multitude of times for various reasons.  Either he suddenly needed a drink, or daddy forgot to hug him, or he needed the one specific stuffed animal that nobody could find, or he needed to tell us something.  The list went on and on.  With the melatonin he was still awake (it didn’t make him sleepy) but he was calm and relaxed enough that once we put him to bed he’d stay there until he fell asleep.

Even with that change earlier this year he still was awake for far longer at night than he should have been.  To keep himself entertained he’d play in his bed at night and there was where the issues with the boys sharing a room began.  Brendan is one of those kids that needs a solid 12-15 hours of sleep to function properly.  With his brother in the bed below him making noise for hours on end it interrupted his sleep pattern making him that much more of a bear.

While we were moving over the summer I took down the boys bunk bed, staged their bedroom as an office, and had the boys sleep on air mattresses in separate rooms.  That little change did wonders for Brendan’s attitude and reaffirmed my decision to get the boys into separate rooms one way or another.  Cameron was okay with the changes I made during the move, probably because he was the one who still got to sleep in their bedroom at night making the change seem not so big to him.

That all changed once we moved into the new house.  Once we had his bunk bed back up and the furniture in place he wanted Brendan to share a room with him again and we had a few bad nights as he learned to adjust to sleeping in a room all by himself.  Now that a few months have passed he is completely comfortable with the change and he prefers to have his own room.

Where we were not expecting Cameron to have to deal with adjusting was school.  Cameron was the only one of the three kids not changing schools.  The familiar school, and same group of friends should have made transitioning into second grade a breeze, and it was for a while at least.  Around the end of the first quarter Cameron’s teacher began reporting to me that Cameron was having some pretty rough days.  He was having trouble concentrating on his school work and wild and crazy enough to get himself into a bit of trouble during the day.  That could only mean one thing, we needed a medication adjustment.

Overall I guess that shouldn’t have been too surprising.  Cam went through something similar around the same point in time in first grade.  It’s hard to keep the medication levels right when your boy keeps growing and changing.  The biggest difference between this year and last year was that his teacher noted that even when his medication should have been at its highest concentration (mid-morning) Cameron was struggling to focus on his schoolwork.

We took him into the pediatrician and described the problems he was having in school.  The doctor agreed with the assessment and said we needed to increase the dosage of his medicine, but also let us know that this new dose was the maximum dosage of his current medication and that if this change didn’t work we would have to put him onto a different medicine.

It’s hard to believe how much things have changed for us in a little under two years.  We were extremely hesitant to put Cameron onto medication in the first place.  But the difference we have seen in him since putting him onto it are so amazing that if we were to go back in time we wouldn’t change a single thing about our decision.  Pre-meds Cameron was constantly destroying things, generally bad tempered, and a lot of time in tears.  We spent the majority of our day yelling at him for one thing or another.  The poor kid had to feel completely picked on because he was constantly getting into trouble for something.

Even with all that we could see (briefly) a glimpse of a sweet and loving kid.  I recently was reading through some of my older blog posts and found the one where 4 year old Cameron brought his favorite stuffed animal to the dentist for his dad so that dad wouldn’t be scared.  Now we get to see that kid almost all of the time.  He’s not perfect, he is a 7 year old boy after all, but at least now the destructive, cranky kid is the exception instead of the rule.

For now the new dosage of medication is working, and we will keep working with the doctor and the school to find the right balance for Cameron.  But all in all I’d say he’s become very well adjusted.

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