A Self Divided

It’s hard, but I’ll admit it.  I’m split in two.  On one hand, I’m a pretty scientific thinker.  I love reading about new scientific advances, am a big fan of using the scientific method, and don’t want Intelligent Design taught in science class.  On the other hand, I’m pretty religious.  I keep Kosher (to some degree), I observe Shabbat (mostly), and I go to Temple (during holidays).  I value both aspects of me, but they can often go to war with each other.

For example, I wait 6 hours from eating meat until I’ll eat dairy.  That means if I eat a hamburger at 7pm, I can’t eat a piece of cake made with butter until 1am.  This wait has resulted in me becoming a near-vegetarian.  When offered the choice between a piece of meat and the possibility of dessert, I go for dessert nearly every time.  Not that I regret this, mind you.  I’m not the biggest meat-lover around.  I’m happy using tofu/soy substitutes instead of meat.   However, it can complicate things sometimes.

Some people think I should tone down this wait time.  Her uncle, who is also religious, only waits 3 hours.  My parents (who aren’t religious, but who attend an Orthodox temple) know many Orthodox people who agree with the 3 hour rule.  So why do I wait 6 hours now?  Mostly because I was brought up that way.  In Hebrew School while growing up, I was told that one shouldn’t mix milk and meat.  In order to prevent meat and milk from being eaten during the same meal, a wait time of 6 hours was initiated.

Apparently, however, there are many different philosophies of how long you need to wait.  In Russia, Jewish communities set the wait time as 6 hours.  In Europe (Germany), the local Jewish communities set the wait time at 3 hours.  It all depended on how their meals were structured during the day.  The Germanic Jews were more likely to eat a meal between Lunch and Dinner and so could wait 3 hours before the next meal hit.  The Russians waited from Lunch until Dinner.

So where does that leave me?  Undecided (much to some people’s annoyance) for many months.  I’ve looked up the reasons behind the wait and found that I agree with some and don’t agree with others.  Even the ones I agree with, however, might be satisfied by a 3 hour wait.

So why not simply change?  If I’m going to be fully honest, it is for two main reasons:  1) I’ve been doing this for almost two decades now so a shift this major is quite a big deal.  2) I’m afraid of the Slippery Slope – that is, I’m afraid that this "minor" change will lead to more changes to (or pressures to change) my religious beliefs that I’m not prepared to make.

My scientific side has analyzed all of the arguments and has come to the conclusion that a 3 hour wait should be fine.  My religious side reads that the actual rule is "greater than 5 hours" and is only willing to yield to a 5 hour 1 minute wait.

So here I am stuck going over the same issue in my mind over and over.  The same arguments for and against.  I’m in a Red Queen’s Race and I can’t figure a way out.

Has anyone else ever experienced a split like this?  (Doesn’t have to be religious/science based.)  How do you come to a decision in a situation like this?

NHL’s First Day With No Singulair = No Checks!

NHL has been off of Singulair for less than 24 hours now and what an improvement!  Yesterday, he had 5 checkmarks for bad behavior, including for drawing on his chair.  Normally, you can only get 3 per day so 2 of those would have transferred over to today.  Once NHL’s teacher heard about the Singulair theory, though, she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and start him off today with no checks.

Apparently, it was like night and day!  He listened, had body control, didn’t act out or yell.  He pinched a bit on the playground, but that was it.  B called me up after picking him up and put him on the phone.  He proudly told me that he got NO checks today and got a sticker for being so good!

Maybe it is too early to be so certain that it was the Singulair, but he hadn’t had a single no-check day while on it.  It seems a little too coincidental that the first day off of it would also just happen to be his first no-check day.  So I’m pretty certain now that all of his behavior problems were Singulair related.  Here’s hoping that his behavior improves even more as the days go on and the residual Singulair drains from his system.

Singulair The Source Of NHL’s Behavior Issues?

NHL had anohter bad day today.  Actually, bad doesn’t do it justice.  In addition to his normal bad behaviors, he was caught writing on his chair with crayon.  When told to clean it up (and given paper towels), he decided that the proper course of action would be to switch colors!

NHL has been on Singulair for awhile now to treat his seasonal allergies.  Some people report drastic behavior changes with Singulair use.  We’re not sure if this is the cause or not, but the doctor has ordered us to stop the Singulair for 3 weeks as a test to see if his behavior improves.  Here’s hoping it does.

While researching Singulair-related behavior issues, my wife pointed me at this site.  In it, I found the following post:

My 5 years old son has been on Singulair for 9 months. His allergy symptoms have completely gone away. He’s no longer has his night time cough, bloody nose, and frequent croup due to allergies.
My life has been a living HELL from the moment I started this medicine. Before he was on this medicine he was always a pleasant, smart, well-behaved child. Right after he started singulair he began having temper tantrums, becoming increasingly argumentative, not listening. He gets mood swings like you would not believe cry and/or yell at us over the silliest things, kicking, screaming, nightmares, and became very physically aggressive. We were unable to take him places because we never knew how he would behave in public .He was extremely unhappy little 5 year old boy. He also complained of upset stomach and fatigue. Even his school complained about his behavior and they said that he might have PDD. After consulting with doctors we got the assurance that he does not have PDD, but we end up changing his school anyway.
Being a first time mom I never thought it was the medication, I thought it was just a normal behavior. I thought as a parent I must be doing something wrong! I couldn’t believe that other parents have gone through the same nightmare.
Two weeks ago the doctor handed me a report about singulair and its suicidal side effect and ask me to stop using this medicine for a while. Since then I started to notice a dramatic change in our son’s behavior. He woke up singing, laughing. He wants to help with chores. He is doing great with his school lessons, and very patient with everyone. He is now a more stable and friendly 5 years old.
Wow, I have a completely different child, and thank God I took him off singulair.
As parents, please let’s do something to stop poisoning our children.

As I read this post, I had to double-check the poster to make sure that it wasn’t my wife posting it.  Up to the "physically aggressive" part, it fits NHL to a tee, though he never got nose bleeds.

So now NHL is off the Singulair.  We’re crossing our fingers that this is the cause and that he reverts back to Old NHL soon.

NHL’s Behavior Issues or The Frightful Fives

Last post, I mentioned that NHL is good at working the system to get what he wants.  In the case of going on a ride just to see the end of a Wiggles show, it is cute in a way.  Unfortunately, this post is about behavior that is anything but cute.

NHL just started kindergarten a couple of weeks ago and he has yet to have a completely good day.  He has a litany of bad behaviors that his teachers report to us:

  • Not listening
  • Pushing when kids are in his way
  • Doing what he wants to do now instead of what he is told to do (kind of falls under the first thing, but I think it’s big enough for its own bullet point)
  • Trying to (forcefully) correct kids when he is wrong (in other words, playing "Kindergarten Cop")
  • Screaming when he doesn’t get his way

To my wife and I this is bringing back ghosts of last year.  You know what happened last year, right?  Of course not, I wasn’t blogging then.  Queue the flashback sound effects…..

Last year, my wife and I enrolled NHL in the pre-K program at a local school.  To protect the school, let’s call it "School M."   He started the first day and everything seemed fine.  He liked his class and we were happy.  Sadly, this wasn’t to last. 

Not even a week into his school, NHL told us that he was "sick" and needed to stay home from school.  There was no way that he was really sick.  This was completely a ploy to stay out of school.  He started saying that he didn’t want to go and complaining about school more and more.  We spoke with various people, tried various things, and my wife finally decided to observe the class one day.  During the class, NHL was repeatedly told "No" over and over and made to do tasks from the beginning because he didn’t do them perfectly.  The other kids weren’t treated like this.  One chore that I remember was as follows:

  • NHL had to get a mat out of a cubby
  • He had to walk around a teacher to one side (the wrong side would elicit a "No!" and a command to start over)
  • He had to unroll the mat without letting his feet touch it
  • He had to walk back to the cubby to get a container of blocks
  • Walk around the teacher again (wrong way = "No!" + start over!)
  • Lay out the blocks in a certain way witout his feet touching the mat
  • Put everything back in a certain order.

I’ve simplified it a bit, but there were like 16 steps that he had to complete.  Now, I don’t know about you, but if I had a 16 step task to do, I don’t think I would do it 100% perfect.  And if each and every screw-up resulted in harsh words and a command to start from scratch, I’d get frustrated as well.  He began acting out in class (but not at home).

Needless to say, we pulled NHL from that school and moved him to "School J."  The change was immediate.  He loved school to the point of going to the door to tell us he was going to school…. at 8pm on a Saturday!!!  He wouldn’t have minded if school were 7 days a week.

Flash forward to today.  NHL is acting out again, but this time it is at home and at school.  In contrast to "M", though, he loves going to school.  He is constantly bolting from my car, without so much as a kiss goodbye, to dash into school.  But once in class, he seems to be having trouble with basic social aspects and with following directions.  At home he is prone to outbursts and over-exagerations.  He also seems to be trying to exert authority over people he obviously has no authority over.

"NHL, finish your dinner."

"No, I’m done. I want dessert."

"You don’t get dessert until you finish your dinner."

"I only need to eat one more bite."

"No, NHL, eat it all."


"Then you don’t get any dessert."

"Yes, I DO!  You don’t get any dessert because you’re a mean daddy! I don’t love you!"

Our best guess is that he thinks that acting out will get us to remove him from this school the same way we removed him from "School M."  Other than the behavior issues, though, he seems to like it there.

I’m out of answers.  With all of the troubles we’ve encountered with NHL so far, I’ve been able to draw upon my experiences growing up to find a path to take.  This is completely new.  I don’t know what to do.  B tries her best, but her nerves are shot after 3 hours alone with him (and JSL) every weekday.  Everyone always talks about the Terrible Twos, but how do you handle the Frightful Fives?

Crafty Five Year Old Working The System

Over the weekend, B, NHL and I went to Six Flags.  (JSL stayed home with B’s parents.)  We were there from noon until 6:30 pm, so there are many stories to tell of the day.  One big one stands out though.  The Great Escape has a new park called Wiggles World dedicated to the Australian kids band.  NHL had a blast there, but one of his favorite parts of that park was the live show.  We actually missed the first half of it the first time around, but went back to Wiggles World and caught the first half later on.

Not wanting to hang around for the whole show, we told NHL that he could watch up until the part he had seen before and then we’d leave.  He watched, sang, and danced along until Wags came on.  That is where we had walked in last time so we informed him it was time to go.  As we left the Live Show section, he told us that he wanted to ride on Dorothy’s Tea Cups one more time.  We acquiesced and he went on the ride.

It soon became evident that he wasn’t making any real effort to spin the tea cup around.  In fact, he wasn’t even paying attention to the ride he was on.  It turns out that Dorothy’s Tea Cups are the only ride in Wiggles World that affords a complete view of the stage!  NHL worked the system and wound up being able to watch the rest of the show while on the ride.  B and I just had to laugh about it. (To ourselves, of course.  We don’t want to encourage him).  NHL is proving to be a master of working the system to his advantage!

(Photos of the Six Flags Adventure are coming soon!)

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