Hi everyone! I am so excited to have found this site. A bit about us - I am very happily married with two kids and live in Ontario. My husband is a teacher and I am a (very unsuccessful) aspiring writer. I have had to take a long-term leave of absence from my "real" job while we try to get things figured out with our difficult child. She is almost 5, beautiful, smart, funny, and wonderful. We also have an almost-two-year-old son who so far at least is a easy child. (Though I admit to watching him probably more than I should for signs of impending GFGness...) My husband and I both have some bi-polar disorder in our families and I was an explosive child. When I was about 8, our family doctor suggested removing caffeine from my diet and from then on I was a easy child. My husband was always a easy child. daughter was a relatively easy baby - ate and slept beautifully and was happy and healthy. She has been on-target or early with all of her milestones, and has always been very advanced verbally. I stayed home with her for a year, then my sister lived with us and watched her for the next 18 months. daughter always had a bit of a stubborn streak, but no issues at all. She was involved in various mommy-and-me activities and had playdates regularly. When she was 2.5, my sister left and a friend of the family watched her at first. I remember the first day I picked her up, the friend said, "She is too easy! So polite and well-behaved!" And I was not surprised to hear that in the least, as that had always been our experience as well. By the end of that first week, the friend was no longer willing to watch her because she had started hitting the other kids. We put her in another home daycare and that lasted only a few weeks, during which there were many days I had to leave work to pick her up early because she was having tantrums that disturbed the other kids. We were finally able to find her a spot in a large centre where she seemed to thrive (though still had tantrums regularly). At that time we were able to sort of brush it off as her just being a typical two-year-old and sort of pooh-poohed the two home daycares who hadn't been able to handle a cranky two-year-old. When she turned three, her brother was born and after a very brief adjustment period (for about two weeks she would give him a casual smack every time she walked past) she was, and continues to be, absolutely fantastic with him. We kept her in the daycare a couple of days a week over the summer because she enjoyed it and it gave us some time to adjust to the new baby, then in the fall she started attending preschool 3 mornings a week. Her tantrums continued at home and at school, but everyone just told me oh, 3 is really worse than 2... she'll grow out of it... After about a month, the preschool teacher sat me down and said I should have her checked out by the family doctor. We did, and were told that the preschool teacher was overreacting and that daughter was just fine. The tantrums started increasing in frequency and intensity, and we started journalling. We found patterns that seemed to imply a connection with food, and we tried gluten-free, casein-free, and eliminating additives. The only thing that seemed to make a difference was the additives and we still have her on a very strict diet of what we call "clean" food - no MSG, artificial flavours or artificial colours which seems to help substantially but has not been a cure-all. We have also noticed possible connections with the weather. The other thing that raises a red flag for us with our family history of bi-polar is that there are distinct cycles. She will go weeks or even months being completely perfect, then weeks of nightmare behaviour, then we get "her" back again. It's not just the tantrums, either. When she is in a "bad" period, she is just...different. It's very hard to explain, she's just not herself. She's not exactly miserable, but she's not cheerful and pleasant either. It's sort of like she's "non-pleasant", not all the way UNpleasant, but a sort of lack of joy. She reminds us of a sterotypical sullen teenager sometimes. When she is in these periods, she has some sensory issues - picky about food, clothes and having her hair brushed. We went back to the family doctor the January of her preschool year and pushed until we got a referral to a pediatrician. She declared her ODD, though admitted at 3 she was too young for an official diagnosis. I am not really ok with the diagnosis of ODD - if anything I believe that it's a symptom of other things as opposed to a diagnosis in itself, but in any case she said to come back if things got worse. We had a very good summer - she was so good that we really thought we were through it. She was 4 now, and we figured maybe everyone had been right after all, that 3 was the new 2 and now she had grown out of it. In the fall, she started junior kindergarten. We had her enrolled in the school daycare and were easing her in in anticipation of my return to work in October. After the first week, we were told we would need to find other care as they were unable to handle her behaviour. At that point, I took a leave from my job as we just couldn't go through it again, the looking for a daycare, the constant calls to come get her early, the stress of wondering what it would be this time every time the phone rang. She was doing ok in kindergarten at first, and the teacher was reasonably prepared to cope with the tantrums. But then she started running off in the middle of tantrums, and we started to get calls to come pick her up early. The school is as supportive as I could hope for, but it's a very tiny school and they just don't have the resources to manage her, and without a diagnosis it seems impossible to get extra resources. We went back to the pediatrician, who confirmed her earlier opinion of ODD, and said to pretty much just deal with it. With some pushing, she eventually sent us to a cognitive behavioural therapist, who has referred us to the developmental pediatrician she works with. We're booked with him, but our appointment isn't until September. Meanwhile, we get called to pick up daughter from school as often as 3 times a week during "bad" periods, and while things at home are generally better than at school, she does have some extreme meltdowns at home too. She is not usually physical, but at school she has hit at her teacher and principal a few times (it's usually them being caught in the way of her flailing as opposed to her actively trying to hurt them, but not always) and a couple of times at home she has very deliberately hit at me. She also says really hateful things in her rages. She finds it almost impossible to wait her turn or share. She loses it instantly and over almost any trivial thing - not being able to get her zipper up, making a mistake in a drawing, her cookie cracking. She loves playing with other kids, and on playdates or at the park does as well as any kid her age, better than many even. At school she is starting to be shunned a little due to her outbursts and it's sort of a vicious cycle for her - she gets upset because kids won't play with her, and then the kids won't play with her because she gets upset, etc. One of her main triggers at school is not being able to sit beside the person of her choice during circle. Basically, she wants every little thing to go exactly her way and loses it instantly and intensely when it doesn't. Her behaviour has never, ever gotten her what she wants, yet she can't seem to get her head around that. It's beyond exhausting and heartbreaking. She is such an amazing kid! It kills me how hard things are for her. My staying home has been the best thing for us all though, the stress level in our house is a fraction of what it used to be. We are also very lucky that my husband and I have been the strongest team I could imagine. Whew. I think that's about it... A couple more random things: - we've read about six million parenting books... currently revisiting The Explosive Child and 1-2-3 Magic. - on a waiting list for an anger management workshop for 4-7 year olds - she sometimes has trouble making eye contact, usually just when in trouble or upset - she often speaks too loudly and has started asking people to repeat themselves a lot... booked for a hearing test next month - she occasionally has bouts of mild incontinence not related to a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) - not just nighttime bedwetting, but small leaks throughout the day and sometimes full pant-wetting. This usually lasts for two or three days and then goes away completely (though she is still touch-and-go at staying dry through the night) - she sometimes will suddenly shout out a bunch of nonsense sounds. Not so much like a tic, more like some crazy excess energy suddenly bubbles up and bursts out. She seems to be in a certain amount of control of it, like she's just being silly, but it also seems to be something she feels suddenly and strongly compelled to do at times. She would never ever do it say, in the library or at a movie. - she fits the description of the inflexible-explosive child almost to a T, the only thing missing is that she does not generally feel sorry for the things she says and does I'm so sorry this is so long! I can't tell you how happy I am to be here... people just don't get it and it's such a relief to find a place where I don't feel defensive and worried that everyone is judging me and assuming I am a horrible parent!