something I should never allow us to run out of. At this moment I have a nearly six year old boy, screaming, actually that would be SCREAMING, in his bed, because he didn't get to use the bathroom of his choice. Now, I'm not a doctor, nor do I play a doctor on TV. Heck, I don't even like TV shows about doctors, but I do have some pretty strong anecdotal evidence about the benefits of fish oil. TM has always had impulse control problems...acting before he thinks, getting easily frustrated, temper tantrums, and very animal-like vocalizations (a lot of growling and such). These have all become more manageable over time, but they have virtually disappeared since I began giving him regular doses of fish oil. He is calmer, more reasonable, able to think more clearly, and is more patient. In fact, his behavior was so normal I began to wonder if I really needed to be buying fish oil at all. So when we ran out, I didn't rush out to buy it. A week after I stopped giving it to TM, we had our first major tantrum in months. That day I ran, well, walked very fast, to the store to buy more. Within a few days, he was back to his calmer self. So now, just in case I didn't learn the lesson the first time, I can see first hand the effects of going without fish oil. This time I let it run out for financial reasons (it's kind of pricey stuff) and it's been two weeks. This last week has not been a really good one for TM. We have had behaviors I thought we were done with and I'm suddenly remembering how hard I had to work to love him in those first difficult months. It is particularly bad timing on my part since his birthday is on Friday and he seems to have difficulties around the anniversaries of past trauma anyway. (With all his previous moves, there are a lot of anniversaries to navigate.) Not having the fish oil in his system to help moderate reactions is not helping. I'm hoping that we can have him a bit more regulated by Friday so he (and all of us) can enjoy his birthday.
For those of you whose children have experienced trauma, I would recommend trying fish oil if your children show the same behaviors as TM. It's been a very good thing for us. Actually the best combination has been fish oil plus a tablet form of acidophilus. Acidophilus helps promote serotonin (the chemical that contributes to feelings of happiness and contentment) production in the brain. Children who have experienced trauma often have lower than normal levels of serotonin and giving their serotonin levels a boost helps to boost positive feelings. I have found Deborah Gray's book, Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma, to be a very valuable book.
Oh, back to the bathrooms. I'm not sure if it will make anyone feel better or not, but to those of you with fewer bathrooms than we have (which I realize is nearly the entire world), having more bathrooms does not stop the jumping around in agony outside the bathroom door. It would seem that each child develops his or her own favorite bathroom and becomes incapable of using any other bathroom. The child would rather wait...and sometimes wait too long...just to use the bathroom of his or her choice. Even if there is an available bathroom not more than 20 feet away!