Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Weekend of Firsts

This past weekend was Thanksgiving, so we headed up to the in-laws' cottage as is our tradition. Last week was a pretty rough week with Bear, so TheODDDad had suggested we could stay home if I needed to (bless him...the cottage is his favourite place in the whole world, so that shows just how bad my week was -- and how much he loves me), but I had been really looking forward to it.

It's always crazy when we get together at the cottage. It's just a cottage. A real cottage. Not a house "cottage." A small cottage. A real old-fashioned don't-worry-if-you-track-sand-through-the-cottage-or-if-the-wet-dogs-are-sleeping-on-the-couch type of cottage. So it was us, my brother-in-law and his family (another 5 people), my in-laws, and three dogs. Six adults, five kids ranging between 18 months and 15 years old, and three dogs ranging from 20 lbs to 100 lbs. Adults get beds and kids get floors and couches. Dogs get wherever is left. Big kids look after little kids and adults sit and watch as teenage boys turn to young men before our eyes and little boys flourish under the attention of their big cousins.

Craziness ensued. Laughter bubbled. Tension faded. It was glorious.

One of the most amazing things to happen this weekend is that we saw a whole new side of Bear. Whether he's hitting a new stage where he's becoming more confident or whether his new anti-anxiety meds are starting to work, I'm not sure, but I really liked what I saw. Bear has always refused to go anywhere near the Mule (picture a cross between a golf cart and an ATV) or any of the boats. When they start up, he goes running in the other direction, terrified. Yet there he was within about an hour of arriving at the cottage, perched on the seat of the Mule beside his big cousin, going on trails through the woods and loving every second of it. This was so out-of-the-blue and momentous that TheODDDad and I actually stood there in disbelief, hugging and struggling to hold back tears of joy as our little boy came out of his shell. He also went for a walk in the woods with us (another first, and just hours after telling us on the way to the cottage that he was not a "walk in the woods at the cottage type of boy" because he was scared of the bears and the porcupines) and even chatted with some teenage girls he had never met before. This from a little boy who just a few weeks ago became violent at the prospect of having to walk through the waiting room at the doctor's office and has been known to hide for hours on end because someone he has never met is visiting. We were stunned with the changes we saw this weekend, and so hopeful that he'll now be open to new experiences.

It's hard to watch your child struggle with things that come naturally to other kids, but the feeling that comes from watching your child flourish and overcome his challenges can't be measured. Here's to you, my brave Bear! Mommy's proud of you.


  1. I am so excited by this post! YAY Bear!!! I know I don't know him in real life, but I so know his struggles. I can't help but cheer and want to dance around the house and yell and whoop and hug everybody around - except no one is home and I'd be looked at as some kind of nut if someone was home... lol

    It is so incredible that he had this kind of breakthrough. I'm so happy for all of you!

  2. That's exactly what we wanted to do, Johanne, once we stopped hugging and crying. Who needs drugs when you have this kind of high? ;-)

  3. YAY Bear! YAY mom and dad. This made me want to hug you and cry too.

    There was an Oktoberfest assembly yesterday at school, and Vampira, the Anxiety-riddled, timid kid, got up in front of the whole school and tried her best to yodel. My kid, the afraid to fail so she won't try kid.

    School is a safe and comfortable place again.

  4. Yay, Vampira! Bear suffers from a fear of failure as well, which is a major problem for us. I'm so glad you're seeing improvements.

  5. Hi Laura,

    Just found your blog and I am so excited to find another ODD/ADHD mom online that I can check in with. Our ODD/ADHD son has just turned 7 and it has been a long few years, but the days are longer. We don't have anybody in our lives that truly understands the life we lead - but I sure do get your posts! Keep up the great work. I don't blog nearly as much as you do (long story, much of it bathed in ADHD/ODD) but if you'd like to see who we are, I'm at
    Thanks Laura! Cristina

  6. Hi Cristina,

    Thanks so much for letting me know you can relate. Bear just turned 6, so we're probably dealing with similar things. I'm really sorry to hear you don't have people who understand what's going on, although it's hard to understand until you live it. My blog is still pretty new, but there are at least a couple of other ADHD/ODD moms following. We'll be there for you!