As you may recall, we finally decided to try medication with Stella. Her pediatrician recommended a very low dosage – 5 mg – of Focalin. Like anyone, I was hesitant to medicate a 5 year old kid, but after Stella herself indicated she’d like to try it, I submitted.
First off, I will absolutely concede this was probably the best/worst time to try this. School was ending, family was in town visiting, we were going out of town, summer camp was rapidly approaching. Any/all kids would be off-kilter. Ideally, school staff would be available to track any changes during the weekdays. This hasn’t been much of an option, although to be fair, any “feedback” from the Harpy would have been the equivalent of pigeon shit on a windshield.
We noticed a difference immediately. She was more “present” during conversations. She wasn’t as fidgety or twitchy. She herself said she felt calmer. Every day around 4:00 when the meds started wearing off, she’d start to unravel a bit. That is when you could really tell how much impact the Focalin was having.
After almost a month, we went back to the doctor to discuss and to get a new prescription. We decided to try a higher dose – 10 mg, since the 5 was so low and there was still some hyperactive-type behavior persisting. We started the 10 mg dose on Monday.
It definitely is hitting her system harder. I can’t tell right now if I love it or hate it. I was able to take her to see a movie in the theater for the first time ever – Angry Birds in 3D. That would have been largely unthinkable a month or two ago. She did great. But she isolates now. She mainly wants to hang in her room and play on her computer. She may have done that for 30 minutes before, but then would come right back out to the living room with me and Felix. Now she isolates for hours. Her appetite has taken a huge hit as well. I knew to expect that, however.
What’s hard to know is if this isolation is just her coping with all the changes in the past month or a result of the meds. Selfishly I love the quiet. It’s so much easier managing just one kid on top of dinner/laundry/baths. But I miss the racket, the busyness. I can’t believe that she just wants to be alone for such long intervals.
We ask her what she thinks, how she’s doing. She doesn’t protest taking the meds. She says she feels “good” or “fine.” But as smart as she is, she’s only 5. I’m not sure she has the emotional vocabulary to really talk about this. I know it’s only been a handful of days and that we need to let her get used to the new dose and then settle into summer camp next week. I know we can always revert back to the 5 mg dose. I guess I’m just afraid she’s locked in her mind somehow, screaming, but just doesn’t know how to tell us.