Tuesday, December 30, 2014


The past few years have been full of big changes & exhausting challenges.  There was selling a house (that took 6 months, mind you!), adding a new baby, moving away from the city we called home all our lives, sending Kman off to school, building a house, saying goodbye to loved ones, and so many more life changing events.  2015 will certainly continue that trend as we take on some serious lifestyle changes in our family. For now though, let's talk about everyone's favorite New Years topic... RESOLUTIONS.

his year I decided to make just 2 resolutions:
1 - Be more present & more patient with my kids.
2 - Run

I think the first is actually kinda two, but they will easily go hand in hand.  If I'm more present (not allowing technology, to-do lists, and all the other distracting things to be my priority over my kids), I will be more patient.  ...and by being more patient (slowing down, taking time to show them how to do things, to not get so upset when they make mistakes, to really listen to their words, and to truly appreciate every moment I have with them), I will be more present.  It almost seems like a silly thing to make into a resolution, but I'm being honest by saying it isn't happening enough now & I need to resolve to do better.

The second resolution is really as simple as I put it.  Run.  I don't want to aspire to any particular mileage, race, PR, or any other running-related goal, I just want to get back to running.  Since having Graham (well, actually since about the third trimester with him), my running has been very sporadic.  I've lost a lot of the joy I get from it which has held me back from re-establishing the habit.  (Not to mention the fact that I've lost my running partner which makes running not nearly as fun.) I feel so much better when I run though.  I have more energy, less stress, and honestly, it lifts my mood in general.  2015 has to be the year I get back to the joy of running.  Hopefully I'll find a way to make it a regular part of my schedule, but even if I don't, I'm resolving just to do it.  1 mile a week, 10 miles a day, whatever it is, I resolve to do it.  I do plan to run a full marathon still, but I don't think 2015 will be the year.

annnnnnnd, now, I must act upon the first resolution before I even start the new year, as Sweetie Pie Sparkles is begging to sit in his mommy's lap.  :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Never Once

Standing on this mountaintop, looking just how far we've come; knowing that for every step, you were with us.
Kneeling on this battleground, seeing just how much you've done; knowing every victory was your power in us.
Scars & struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say:
Never once did we ever walk alone.
Never once did you leave us on our own.
You are faithful, God, you are faithful.

Those are powerful words to Never Once, a beautiful song by Matt Redman.  I encourage you to look it up on YouTube & listen, if you're struggling with anything (and who isn't?!) it's so moving!

What brought that up?  Well, this morning I was eager to go to church, but also totally not feeling it.  It's been such a rough week with Kman & I've fallen to my knees (yes, literally) many, many, many times this week, begging, pleading, crying...  The bad behavior marks, the "oops slips", the comments by other people, the chaos of our daily lives, the frustration of living with a child who doesn't hear & respond to things in ways that most people do, the disappointment (once again) in not being able to do "normal" holiday stuff like "everyone else" gets to...  I just don't understand how I am suppose to get through this, I don't understand why I was chosen to be his mother, I don't have a clue why God thought I could handle even a fraction of all that we struggle through every day with Kman - yet here we are.  So, as I was getting ready this morning & debating if I really wanted to drag the kids to church or not, a quiet voice (not literally for those of you keeping tabs) said to just go.  If nothing else, it's a little over an hour of free babysitting.  :p  (That's mostly a joke, even if it's not a good one.)
We got the kids dropped off, got the hubby ((more)) caffeinated, and settled into our seats.  When the music started, I still wasn't feeling it.  Then came this song.  I was holding back the tears as best I could, but a few still managed to leak out.  I have felt SO alone SO often lately.  Nobody else understands my exact struggle.  Sure, there are other parents of special needs kids - some battling bigger obstacles, some smaller, some similar - but every journey is unique, so none of us can completely understand the battle of another.  Sure, there are other people who truly love Kman & feel true sadness, frustration, worry, exhaustion, etc - but none of them feels it the same as I do because I am his MOTHER.  Not even his dad takes it on in the same way that I do.  Oh, I could go on & on with comparisons, but the point is, no matter who else might be able to kind of understand, to empathize with me, to support me, etc, nobody else is as knee deep in this exact struggle as me.  I have felt so very alone!!
Then, this song.
Never once did I ever walk alone - never once did God leave me on my own.  God is faithful.  It's me that's not being so faithful.  I fall to my knees & beg for him to help me, but, I'm looking for him to erase all the hard times, wipe away all the tears, make the heartache go completely away.  It doesn't work that way.  Can any of us, as parents, make life so that our children never feel pain, face difficulties, or have their heart break?  No.  He is not leaving me alone, He is my father & here to hold me, to listen to me, to comfort me, but He's not ever going to just take it all away.  Every time I've fallen down & pleaded for help, I'm sure it has been given, but I've been looking for it in the wrong way.
It's time to quit being so full of "whoa is me" & start finding contentment in what I have on my plate. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.  (You may know this better as "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength".)  I can make it through anything, and the struggles of my life are certainly something.  That doesn't mean I won't cry out in frustration, pleading for an easier day ahead.  That doesn't mean I won't ask for help when I'm drowning in the midst of emotional turmoil.  That doesn't mean I will cease to feel the pain or that the burdens of my day will become obsolete.  It simply means that no matter who hard any particular day, hour, or moment is, I will be okay in knowing that God has me in His hands & it will all work for His greater will.
Kman will do great things in his life.  I have no doubt of that.  We will all survive his childhood.  I do often have doubts of that...  but I trust that God has that all worked out.  Right now I'm tasked with teaching him how to trust in God & not worry about what any man thinks or says about him.  That's a hard lesson for a young guy, but you can't even imagine the struggles he faces every day.  I stumbled across a website written by a young ADHDer (adhdkidsrock.com) & found the young man's purpose statement so fitting for Kman, as he often complains of these problems.  In fact, I think he could've written this himself.  Stop and think about these words coming out of the mouth of ADHD kids next time you're quick to judge the actions of kids you don't know...
"My life sometimes has been ridiculously hard because I have ADHD - mostly because people don't understand me.  They think I'm bad, what they don't see is how much I struggle and how hard I'm trying to be good and to fit in.  In turn this has taught me compassion for others who are different.  They think I'm stupid, but if they really got to know me they would know how incredibly intelligent and caring I am.  They think I'm going to be a failure and I'm going to prove them wrong."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pass the BonBons, Please.

6:40am - a little voice yells at me from the top of the stairs.  "Mommmmmmmy!"  Why does this happen every morning?  Some days I seriously consider changing my name!  Then, that sweet face looks down at me & with all the energy & enthusiasm a 2 year old can have, he blurts out "GOOD MORNING MOMMY!  I WAKE UP!"  (He also does this when he wakes up in the middle of the night, and it's just as cute then.)
By the time I get him settled (Mickey Mouse turned on, sippy full of milk in his hands, blanket adjusted just-so), and sit down next to him, the dogs start up.
I let them out, I feed them, they growl at each other & the kiddo, sometimes I let them out again... then I sit down again.
BUT! Here comes big brother.  Big brother is full of big demands.  He wants a smoothie, he needs some pants - because he didn't bother to take his laundry upstairs the night before, he doesn't want to watch Mickey Mouse again...
I get him settled also, and this time opt for a cup of coffee instead of sitting down.  Sweet, precious nectar of the mommy gods.  How any mom (or dad, or human for that matter) can manage through a morning without coffee is way beyond me!  Every once & a while I get to finish a whole cup while it's still hot.  Today was not one of those days.
I take a sip of my coffee & realize I have to make lunch for Kman.  I put the coffee down & stare at the options for his lunch.  I really should go back to making his lunch at night.  <--- I think that every morning, but by the time everyone is in bed for the night there's just no way I want to do a single other thing.  No.  I decide on crackers, meat, cheese, tomatoes, olives, & a chocolate milk.  ((By the way, he came home with ALL of that, except the chocolate milk.  Can I just not send a lunch, or is that frowned upon?))
Now Sweetie Pie Sparkles is torturing the dogs.  I have to stop that.  Man, I really want some coffee.  I NEED some coffee!  Where did I put the coffee?  Oh, man, it's too close to time for school to search for my coffee.  I send Kman to make his bed, brush his teeth, and get his socks.  He does 1 of these things.  I send him back to do the other 2.  He comes back with a book & a toy.  He didn't accomplish either task.  Now I'm frustrated & desperate for my coffee!  I find it, take a gulp, and send him back to brush his dang teeth & get his socks!  He comes back down, having accomplished both tasks.  At least he says he did.  Who knows if he actually brushed his teeth.  That's his problem, not mine.  Nobody wants to be friends with stinky-breath boy!
Sweetie Pie Sparkles takes a potty break, I gather all the stuff we need to get in the car, and off we go.  Holy monkey cow!  (That's an old saying of the hubby's, weird, eh?)  The carpool line is ridiculous this morning.  Where did all these people come from?  I never can figure out why some mornings are busier than others in the carpool.  It's a strange phenomenon, but it's carpool, it'll never make sense.
I finally get Kman to school & get SPS & I back home, where I FINALLY get to eat breakfast.  It's 9am.  Gosh already!  I eat, SPS eats yet again (I think he averages 3 breakfasts), then we're off for a walk.  I take my coffee with us.  The wind makes walking pretty miserable, so we have friends over & play.
Before we know it, it's 11.  Guess who is hungry again?  When I go to feed him, I realize I never did finish that cup of coffee.  I dump it down the drain because I don't want to drink it now & be up all night long!  (I have a strong love-hate relationship with caffeine.)
Once he's fed I turn on Mickey ((again!)) & go to take a shower.  Oh, did I mention, it's now 11:30 & I'm finally changing out of the clothes I wore yesterday?  Yeah, that's pretty typical.  How does that even happen you ask?  Exhaustion my friends, pure exhaustion.
They day continued on pretty typically.  You get the idea.  I'm sharing all this for a few reasons.
1 - stay at home moms DO NOT have time to sit around watching soap operas & eating BonBons (unless I'm doing something terribly wrong??).
2 - I need to get back to waking up at ridiculous-o-clock, just so I can finish a cup of coffee before the munchkins wake up!
3 - I think I've decided that *right now* I can't homeschool.  I feel like I barely make it through the day with any sanity left as it is.  I can't add Kman to that.  Not right now.  I WANT to homeschool.  I love the idea of it all.  The lifestyle, the ability to teach him what he wants to learn, the chance to spend more time instilling the values & morals I want him to have, the opportunity to really know him, the chance to share more time with him before he's too cool for me...  I can't do it right now though.  Since I had SPS & we moved away from all of our family, I can count on 1 hand how many chances I've had to be ALONE for 2+hours.  Yes, I know that's part of parenthood, but I'm exhausted.  I need a break.  My sanity is on the cusp of breaking, if I throw in another child 24/7 it just might happen.  Of course I can still change my mind at any given moment (and I probably will!), but right now I just can't.  He's doing better in school & I'm trying to take a more active approach to helping him form real friendships because I think that will help him tremendously.  I'm also working on the areas of education that he's struggling with (handwriting!!) and that's he's super interested in (science & reading), hoping to influence his educational passions.  For right now, this is what I have to work with.  This is all I have in me to give.  I'm looking forward to summer, when I can attempt a little schooling to see if maybe I have it in me more than I realize, then I can decide what to do from there.  Especially since he'll likely be slated to start YET ANOTHER new school that will open next year.  (That will be his 5th school (3rd elementary), the 4th school since we moved here.  Poor child could use some stability!)
Now, I'm off to put Kman to sleep, eat some BonBons (I actually wish I had some of those right now!) drink some wine, and sleep like a baby!  -Just not like one of MY babies, since we all know how that goes.  hehe

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hello Indecisiveness!

This week has been very much un-fun.  Kman came home from school Monday with a fever.  A fever that finally broke today.  At first, I saw it as a great opportunity to sell him on the idea of homeschooling & I may have even been a bit too pushy about it.  :p  We did "school" on Tuesday.  It took 45 minutes tops.  What kids wouldn't be ecstatic about the possibility of spending just 45 minutes doing a full day of school work?  Well, mine.  ha.  He was very upset about missing school because it was library day.  So, a few hours into the day (and long after we'd finished that pesky school work) I decided he wasn't really that sick, so running into the library to get new books would be okay.  The books we already had were due, so we had to drop them off anyway, so why not.  We went in & got the books he was really wanting & we were back home reading them before lunch time.  I made sure to draw his attention to how awesome it would be if he weren't sick because at this point we'd have all afternoon to go PLAY!  Yay.  He wasn't really buying it though.  We made a robot, we painted, we read books, we looked up random things on the internet...  it was really what a homeschool day would be for us (except that there was no play time).  Of course by Tuesday night he was super sickly - lethargic, whiny, achy, and just blah.
Wednesday I skipped pushing any kind of work on him because neither one of us got much sleep on Tuesday night.  We did go to the doctor because I have no idea how much school he is allowed to miss without a note, and I was concerned about his cough & general ick.  Of course it was a waste of money, it's a viral "flu-like" something-or-other.  We spent most of the day laying around watching tv & trying to rest.  The boys & I were all quite bored, but Kman was sick enough that there was no effort to be put into doing more than laying around.
Today (Thursday) Kman started right up with being ornery & mean to his brother & I woke up not feeling so great.  Not a good combo.  At all.  I decided there was NO way I could homeschool him.  He's too dang stubborn & often mean, it would be a bad idea to take it on, especially while dealing with a 2 year old that suddenly feels the need to be VERY 2.  I decided I was done.  No way.  Not gonna humor the idea of homeschooling anymore.  When I finally had had enough of the boys fighting, of Kman being intentionally mean to me, enough of being stuck in the house, enough of feeling so confined, I packed us all in the car.  We couldn't go anywhere since Kman is possibly contagious, but we could drive around & get out of the house!
Then, as we drove down the road (after I may or may not have totally lost it, and before I may or may not have felt ready to go drop them off at anyone else's house), it happened...

He said "so, if I were in homeschool, I could..." and he listed several great things.  Then, he said "no matter what, I am not going to school tomorrow!".

Wait, what?

Well, of course that made me stop & rethink my rethinking!  Are you confused yet?  Yeah, me too!

I realize I don't have to make a decision about this RIGHT NOW, or even in 5 days...  or 5 months.  I realize I can decide what's right at any time, but will I ever decide?!  As soon as I figure it out, something changes my mind.  Sheesh.  I am an indecisive person, but this is ridiculous even for me!  Granted, I'm a mom & we stress so much about doing right by our kids, and I'm so afraid of making the wrong choice, but even then it's ridiculous that I can't just decide something!

All that said...  who is tired of the ping pong game I'm playing here?  Should I shut up now?  Yeah, probably so...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Don't Play Games With THE MAN, He Always Wins.

In an effort to convince myself that I've just made up this sudden "calling" to homeschool Kman, I've come up with several game plans that God is just laughing about.

First, he was having several "good" (behavior) days in a row last week, so I decided that was a sign that I was making this all up & I should tuck my tail & continue on the public school route.
The "bad" days came back.
Yeah, yeah, total coincidence.

Next up, I knew they were adding a new class to Kman's grade this week, so I decided that it would be a sure sign that I was supposed to do this if studentX was pulled from his class.  You see, studentX is Kman's "best friend" in class & one of the big reasons that he doesn't like the idea of leaving public school.
StudentX got transferred to the new class.
Really?  Come on!  What are the chances of that?  ...but maybe the odds weren't as steep as I thought.  I mean...  really??  When I threw that thought out into the universe I swear I did not expect that answer.  Seriously.  Grrrrr.

So I said this morning (after a "good" day yesterday that even included not getting an "oops slip" from the one specials class he ALWAYS gets one in), "okay, if he has a 'bad' day today, I'll believe you, this is for real, I need to get on board & quite fighting it".
Guess what?
He had a "bad" day.
In fact, by the marking in his folder, I'd say it was bad enough to frustrate his teacher a bit.

So, there you have it.  I quit playing.  I'm obviously not going to win.  (Yet that tiny voice is still saying "I just don't know...  maybe there's a way out of this still...")

I was already pretty convinced that homeschooling is right, I just don't really wanna.  I mean, I DO.  So many things get me so very excited about it...  but so many others scare me to death!  You know what the #1 thing for me is though?  The thing that makes me feel like I'm really just a homeschool supporter?  The thing I find absolutely broken about elementary schooling?

I'd rather my kids play than study.

Don't read that incorrectly.  I did NOT say I'd rather them play than learn (and remember that playing is learning!), I said I'd rather them play than study.  Maybe my opinion is largely based on the type of kiddo Kman is, maybe it's not, I don't know, but I think kids are expected to grow up too fast.  I think kids have to leave behind make believe, discovery, and carefree fun way before they should.  Should a 7 year old really spend 7 hours sitting in a school, 30 minutes - 1 hour studying (homework & reading), and then have to cram a little play into what's left?  The whole concept just doesn't sit well with me.  It feels so very wrong.  Don't even get me started on how I feel about summer breaks...  ;)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool...

To homeschool or not to homeschool is a pretty big question.  A HUGE question actually.  Or, rather, the decision is HUGE (though the question is lingering enough to make it pretty huge also).
I put lots of thought & tons of prayer (and even a smidge of research) into my answer of this question.  Then I asked Kman his opinion & it brought me right back to square one. /sigh/
Before you even say them, I am well aware of the following things & have put much thought into them the past few days:

I am the parent, what I say goes.
He can't really decide between something he knows & something he doesn't.
We can always change our minds.
And about a million other arguments both for & against me letting him have an opinion on this.

One morning I woke up & randomly had a *very* strong feeling about homeschooling.  It scared me that I suddenly wanted to pull Kman & join the homeschooling world.  I always said I would if I had to, but I was always counting on not having to.  ha.  Be careful what you say, huh?  I prayed over it, I asked several other people to pray over it, and I started doing some serious research into it.  Curriculum, co-ops, extracurriculars, ways to socialize, laws, schedule examples...  I looked into so much.  Within a week I had a very calm but intense feeling that homeschooling was the right choice.  All the stress I have been carrying for months washed off my shoulders.  (Well, other than the stress of having to tell hubby that I was sure I wanted to do this. :p)  I had no more doubts, no more worries, we'd figure this all out, even if it were just for the rest of this year.  Homeschooling doesn't have to be forever...  but it can be.  That's the great thing about freedom of education, we can try everything we need to & stick with what works until it doesn't before changing things up again.
In my head I was ready, and I wanted to pull the plug on public school soon.  I figured I'd finish out the month, take a little break to de-school, then get things started up.  Bring it on!
...then I brought it up to Kman.  I asked him what he'd think of getting to be with me (and Sweetie Pie Sparkles (SPS)) all day.  He said he'd be annoyed because SPS whines too much.  He doesn't whine all day, but totally legit.  I tried a different angle...  I reminded him of a friend that homeschools & asked if thought that would be fun, getting to be at home all day like she is.  No, he likes school (where did this come from?), plus he has to be really bad at school for his teacher to call home, but if he were with me I'd probably call his dad more easily & he'd be in big trouble.  Yet another angle, a bit more bluntly...  what if you got to do your schoolwork at home with me, and you'd have lots more time to play?  Nope.  He'd miss his teacher, he really loves his teacher.
I have since moved on to a totally different method of showing him videos of things homeschool kids do during their co-ops.  He thinks it's really cool, but he asked if he could go to a co-op one day & school the other days.  Womp. Womp. Womp.   I'm going to keep trying some with the videos.  I really wish there were some YouTube videos of kids talking to other kids about why homeschooling is great.  Maybe there are some & I haven't found them - yet.
I do think he deserves to have a say in this, even if I have final say.  Not only because he deserves a voice in his education but also because the kind of personality he has, he has to be on board or this will be a big nightmare!
This morning he woke up & asked to do some school.  (WHAT???!!  Okay!)  So I took out his handwriting book & he willingly, and happily, worked on a few lessons.  Then, I read to him while he played.  There's our writing & literature lesson for the day.  Just like that.  Now he's playing Legos, which is kinda play & education because you really have to exercise your brain for Legos.  We're going to have a short lesson about poop (yes, you read that right - all boy here!) in a bit because he wants to learn about it.  I'll probably also throw in some kind of math game on the computer.  When he's done all that & I tell him he just had a full day of school, maybe that will help him see how different, but not bad or scary or un-fun, homeschooling is.
Of course his not wanting to homeschool put doubts back into my mind.  So many fears of being able to teach him all he needs to know (but let's be real, public school is wonderful in lots of cases, but it basically teaches every kid the exact same thing with little chance of learning extras or being given one-on-one when you need it), worries of ME burning out with 2 kiddos underfoot 24/7, stresses of keeping the kiddos quiet enough for the hubby to get his work done & not add to his stress...
There's the other side though - the excitement of having freedom to go when & where we want, for learning or just for fun, the ability to alter his education around his abilities & his interests, the joy of knowing my child better than I ever imagined...
So, the summary of all these words is that I still don't know for sure what I'm doing.  I'm pretty sure I do want to homeschool.  I'm pretty sure I will homeschool (maybe I'll just start in January), but I'm still not totally sure.  I'm doubting myself, I'm uncertain of what's best for Kman, I'm worried about the hubby not being 100% on board & making things harder on him.  Basically I'm still carrying a lot of confusion around with me about this.
Time will tell, right?...

**As soon as I finished writing this, Kman showed up in the room, so we went ahead with our poop "lesson".  He kinda paid attention, but SPS was also in the room and, oh boy!  SPS was chanting "poop. poopoo, peepee, poop", and acting pretty 2-year-old-ish, Kman was not super interested because all he really wants is to go to Target & buy something, and I was frustrated because - really?  /sigh/  Could I really do this?  We did sorta get through what I wanted to.  Kman should at least know what an esophagus is now.  I guess that's something.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Decisions Suck

Yesterday I was finally in a place that I was ready to discuss what has gone on in my meetings at the school.  Then I got the report from the district psychologist & it has kinda put me in a bad place all over again. I'm going to try to stick with my original plan to go over the meeting, but I may veer off course.  You've been warned.  ;)
So, the first meeting I went to at the school was horrible.  Not that anyone there was mean or not willing to help my child, it just struck deep for me because I am the mom.  Even the things I already knew they'd say hurt because them saying it all made it more real.  If that even makes sense (I'm sure if you've been in this position it totally does!).  *Side note, I share this info for 2 reasons - 1, so that the people that know us & care about what's going on know without me saying it a million times; 2, so that those of you living this lief also know what happens in other parent conferences.  Remember - you are not alone.*

Meeting #1 started as going over a bunch of things I already knew:  His trip to (and many subsequent hours spent in) the asst principal's office.  (He stuck a paperclip in an outlet.  /sigh/) His behavior in the classroom & in specials (he was getting an oops slip pretty much every day).  His difficulties with peers.  Things I DIDN'T see coming were numerous.  Among them, other parents expressing concern about him (both in regards to slowing the class' academic progress & in fear of harm to their kid - what?!), which they couldn't really discuss in details & that still bothers me.  Why are they allowed to talk about him, but I'm not allowed to know what they say?  :(  They also blindsided me with a write-up from the school bus where he was pushing kids & told another student to do something to a kindergartner, which the student then did.  (I have since pulled him from the bus, it was obviously too overwhelming for him to be on there.  PS, carpool in a school of almost 1,000 kids SUCKS.)  There were other things discussed that had me on the verge of tears, but I managed to keep it together until I left the school.  We left this meeting with a second one set, which would happen after the psychologist observed him.
Meanwhile I had the "normal" parent-teacher conference, where his teacher had nothing new to report (yay!), and his academics were great.  He's a really smart kid, he just has typical ADHD problems.
Meeting #2 was much better, as they really had nothing bad to report to me.  The psychologist didn't have her report written up yet, but she went over her observations with me.  She had called me after she finished the last one, so I kinda already knew what all she was thinking (or so I thought...), so nothing she shared was new.  She expressed concern about his anxiety & explained that it went hand in hand with depression, and depression is very common in ADHD people, so we need to keep an eye on it.  She had come up with wonderful accommodations for him (velcro under his desk to fidget with, a behavior chart to tally throughout the day, with rewards based on the number of good marks, the option to leave the classroom to regroup when his meds wear off...  I don't even recall all of them anymore), but his teacher felt that he was doing really well by meeting #2 & didn't feel the need to implement most of the recommended accommodations.
Then yesterday I got the psychologist's full report.  Wow.  I had no idea just how much was going on with him in the classroom!  Even with all I had been told, so much was left out!  When she did her observations he was already on his new med (Focalin), so it was even worse before.  HOW did they wait this long to clue me in?!  A few excerpts I don't mind sharing...
   During the 25 minutes of instruction & independent practice, he was out of his seat about 15 times - either going to the front to look at books, to talk to another child, or to go to the treasure chest (even though he had not earned it).
   He asked a girl next to him several questions, each time about 6-7 times before she answered him (she appeared to be ignoring him).
   He then asked her [teacher], "X, Y, Z" and continued talking about clothes and mom sewing clothes.  [I don't sew, by the way.  :p]
   ...students were allowed to lie down if they chose, and he crawled around on the floor picking up things from the floor.  He appeared to be listening as he popped up & said "let me see" as she read certain things... he brought the things he had collected off the floor and brought it to where a boy was sitting...  he was told to throw them away, then returned to collecting them.
   He made noises, about 3 per minute at times (motor running, martial arts, robots) during warm-up & poem time.
I left so much out because I don't want to cross a line for him personally in the future.  But, you can get an idea.  If this is what she observed in just 2 one-hour visits, what is going on ALL DAY LONG?  ...and what do I do with this information?
I really thought things were looking up until I got this report back, He had a solid week of good days & success (as far as I know anyway), and now he's had 2 "bad" behavior days in a row this week, so I fear him coming home & having to report yet another one to us.  I'm starting to realize that morning are so awful & stressful because he is stressed about going to school.  He's not quite as bad on the weekend, so it's not just that mornings are rough (though they all are, don't get me wrong), he's just anxious.  What do I do with that?
What I'm considering is homeschool.  Oh, heavens.  I've always said I would if I had to, I just hoped I wouldn't have to.  He is starting to not like school though, and I really don't want to see that!  Private school would be great, except the part where it costs money.  I won't rule it out completely, but somehow I just don't see it happening.  Of course I don't really see homeschool happening, but I may just me temporarily blind to it.  Every day that goes by does make the possibility seem more real.  HOW though?  HOW?  If a school full of people trained to handle all kinds of kids can't help him, how will I???  I want what's best for him though, so I'm doing some serious research & I'm going to figure this all out.  Maybe things will start to look up for him in public school.  Maybe we'll wake up & find a money tree growing in our yard to cover private school (hey, one can hope!).  Or, maybe I'll wake up one day & say enough is enough & figure out a way to make homeschool work.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Peaks & Valleys

The thing about ADHD is that you have these periods of time when things are good.  You're all coping well, the stress is a bit lower, everyone is somewhat happy...  then you have these periods of time when things are REALLY awful.  There doesn't seem to be an in between (at least not here), it's good - or, well, it's hell.
It's been several weeks of stress, chaos, anger, extreme hyper, intentional annoyance, unintentional annoyance, insane (and early) mornings, difficult nights...  well, you get the idea.  I really don't think you can understand what it's like unless you have seen it firsthand (either my version, or your own).  I've almost gotten used to the ebb & flow of these peaks.  I know not to get comfortable when things are good, but I swear to you that the times of bad seem to be getting longer & longer, along with being more intense.  I often smile or give a knowing glance when I see people watch in almost horror as my crazy kiddo does, well, crazy *impulsive* things.  Inside though, I'm actually about to break.
Today, I didn't want to get out of the bed.  Yes, it's that bad.  I can't get much more real than that confession.  Dragging myself out of bed was a major chore.
I don't mean that I really wanted to be able to just have a relaxing morning (though I do long for that!), nor do I mean that I just wanted to have a little breather today...  I mean I didn't want to get out of bed.  Like when people become crippled by depression & can't pull themselves out of bed despite the things around them requiring it.  THAT bad.  It's not depression though, it's stress. (Which I guess is why I was able to get out of bed, though I was fairly useless most of the day, besides making sure everyone stayed alive.)  The stress of school and teh chaos of home has caused a stress that has taken its biggest toll on me yet.  Unfortunately, there are no vacation or sick days.  There is no nearby relative to offer me a reprieve.  There is no time away to recharge.  I have a kid to get to school every day & a toddler to keep alive - & happy! - every day.  We do have a nice respite coming up, but it's only 2.5 hours.  Oh, I'm more than thankful for those 2.5 hours...  but...  /sigh/
The flip side of it all is thinking of what it must be like for KMan.  If he's acting out this much, what on earth is happening inside him?  Is he miserable (appearances can lie even in kids, right?)?  Is he hurting?  Is he scared?  Is he overwhelmed?  Is he all of those & more?  ...and how do I help him?!  I know he's a compassionate, loving, well-mannered boy, but all of that hides behind his lack of impulse control, and the scrambled messages in his head, and the lack of self esteem I see continue to grow in him.  I hurt for him.  So much.  As much as my heart hurts because of the amount of love he fills it with, my heart also hurts because of the amount of uncertainty his life seems to bring him.
In moments of sheer desperation & hurt, I fall down & scream out WHY LORD?  I don't ever really hear an answer, I think He has missed the memo that in this house we do not do whispers. I know there's a reason.  I know there's a reason why KMan is the special guy he is, and that all of his struggles, all of his frustrations, all of his hurts, are all for something greater than we know yet.  I also know that He chose me as KMan's advocate because I was the perfect one for the job...  but, oh the lessons I continue to be taught are so exhausting!!  Patience (I can't seem to get that lesson right, so it comes again and again and again).  Trust (I screw up there too, so He keeps pleading for me to have faith).  Love (I feel like I get this one...  but sometimes it's just so hard.  And yet, no matter what I ever do, He loves me.  Always.)  I'm sure I could go on & on thinking of the lessons I'm being handed.  Sometimes I get it, but so often I fail.  I am human after all.
Tomorrow is a new day.  Plus, it's a school day.  So, there's my "vacation".  Sorta.  I do have another meeting at school though, so I expect it to be trying & even more exhausting.  It's just a day though, and it too shall pass.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Do you ever feel completely alone?  Surrounded by lots of family & friends, but all alone?  That's kinda where I am right now.  Not in a depressed sort of way, just in a NOBODY else gets THIS sort of way.  I mean, other people get "it", but there is no-one else on earth going through exactly what I am.  I have support, I have love, I have shoulders to cry on...  but even though my friends and family accept it, live it, or love me enough to tolerate it, nobody else gets THIS.
((Perhaps before you read further you should reference my last post, because there are ppl who (mostly at least) get it, and there is support for all of us.  This post is just my personal pity party, a glimpse of the emotional turmoil I'm living in at this moment.))
I. screwed. up.  It is my fault.  I thought I had it figured out & I thought life was grand.  Boy, oh boy, was I wrong!  KMan, he did great *with me* unmedicated.  He was awesome.  Life was great.  (Well, mostly at least.)  I suppose because really life was just better than it had been on the ADHD drug drug cocktail his former doctor insisted was the best for him.  -Notice the word former?!, live & learn.  I controlled his environment without even realizing I was controlling it, because I know what works.  We didn't frequent crowded places, I allowed the breaking of rules that didn't really matter, I helped him find things to calm himself when he needed to, etc, etc, etc.  I did it because I know him & it was just instinct.  So I was gung-ho about him being at school unmedicated.  He could do it, I mean I knew he'd need accommodations, but it would be okay.
Oh dear heaven, I failed him.  I failed him miserably.
He was no longer shielded from crowds (there's almost 1,000 kids in his K-4th school!!), he was no longer allowed to break rules that were okay to break, he was no longer given guidance when he was overwhelmed/overstimulated/over-anything.  So the notes began, and the oops slips came, and the calls started...  but even with all that, I wasn't really being told how bad it was.  You know what the worst part is?
Other parents are concerned.
They're afraid my kid might hurt their kid (which I honestly can't see happening - but I know my kid & they don't, so I don't fault them for thinking it's possible.  I guess.).  They're bothered my kid is sucking up learning time.  They're expressing who-knows-what other concerns & all I get to know is that "other parents are concerned".  Isn't that awful?  That I can't be told more than that?  These parents somehow know enough about *MY* child to be concerned, but I'm not allowed to know more about their specific concerns.  Seems wrong, doesn't it?  But, what do I do??  The handful of parents I've run into have never expressed a concern to me directly & I'm not sure if it's because they're to ??scared?? to, or if the ones I've run into really have no problem.  How can I know?  Do you have any idea how much that hurts though?  To know that ADULTS are forming an opinion about MY BABY, when they don't even know him?  and if they are forming an opinion, are they sharing that opinion with their children?  If so, where on earth is that going to lead??  Nowhere good, that's for sure.
Seriously, sit and think for a moment - whether you have a NT (neuro-typical aka "normal") kid or a kid with whatever kind of issue...  what if that was YOUR BABY that parents were judging???
How can I not feel alone right now?  Have YOU ever been told those words?  Have YOU ever had your heart stomped on that way?  All the support & love in the world cannot fix the part of me that was broken the moment those words were put out there.  Never.  I will never, ever, ever have that part of my heart back.
If I had the patience (& I didn't have a toddler), I probably would've pulled him from school at that moment to homeschool.  But I do not have it in me right now. If I ever have to do it, I will, because that's what moms do, right?  But I'm not at that point yet.  Why?  Because his school is great.  They are working so hard to find a way for him.  I am working so hard to find a way for him.
KMan is a social butterfly, Right now he's pretty clueless about whether others like him or not (plus, they're still young enough that it changes at the drop of a hat), and as for the few people that he has realized don't like him, he doesn't take that as a bad thing, but as a challenge to change their opinion.  :p  He's awesome like that.
Me on the other hand, I gave up caring what other people thought long ago, but that moment of being told that "other parents have concerns" brought back the strangest feelings of isolation.  Let's be brutally honest here, many NT parents just don't get (or care to attempt to get) that the issues your child is struggling with is not a reflection of you, but a serious neurological problem in them.  So you stand on the sidelines & suddenly feel them looking down their noses at you.  Wow.  I haven't felt that in a long time (I think it went out the day Kman beat me with a summer sausage in the grocery store while screaming "wiiiieeeeener!"), but those words sure brought out all kinds of anxious isolating angst.  Now I'll wonder, every time we get one of the whole-class invitations to a party - is this the parent that has an issue with my kid & is praying we don't show?  Even beyond that...  are parents planning parties & leaving my kid out completely?  Nobody wants that.  Not for themselves but especially not their kids.  This is tough stuff.
Gosh, I'm not sure I shared anything that is of any value to anyone reading this (other than - you aren't the only one out there!!), and it was really more of a personal whine fest than anything else.  Somehow it helped to say it.  I'm still not really in the mood to talk about it. but I needed to get it off my chest!
The meeting yesterday was so much more than that tiny (hurtful) part.  It was a very productive meeting & I really do feel like his school is doing all they can to help him succeed.  There's a small difference in him now that the meds have been started (for at least a few hours anyway), and we'll play the dosage/combo game until we get it all worked out, but I don't think we can rely on just that as he gets further along in school.  The school is going to do some more observations & they're going to try to work more positive rewards in for him meanwhile.  We're going to meet again in a couple of weeks & I really hope things have improved already by then, but I have no doubt that we will get him to a wonderful place even if it's not that soon.
He's SO smart.  He's super creative.  He's funny, and certainly the life of the party.  He's in love with reading, and he's really getting curious about God on a deeper level.  He's got so many amazing attributes, I really am blessed to have him in my life.  Sometimes it's hard to see the good in the midst of life's troubles, but I don't ever want to take for granted what an amazing boy he is & I truly believe there are great things in store for his future.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hey Mom (and Dad), It WILL All Be Okay.

I keep doing what I do because who else would do it?!  Seriously?
The number of you who reach out to me every time I post something makes me hurt.  -not for you (although, I get it & sometimes I do hurt for you!), but for the fact that you don't feel you can be the voice you want to be, or for the fact that you feel lost in this crazy ADHD tailspin, or for the fact that you don't really have anyone to talk to - "nobody else GETS it".  For whatever reason it is that you reach out to me (or even those of you who don't reach out, but so badly want to, you're just too afraid/unsure of what you need/too tired/etc/etc), it really matters to me that you do.  I am so happy that I have family & friends that support me, my family, & my life.  To be honest though, when I started this journey there were plenty of people who didn't support me.  Those people have either been put aside (I really don't have time for that nonsense!), or they've come around.  That's really the only options I offer.  I am who I am & my family is what my family is.  We struggle to survive some days & others we laugh at the shock on faces of people around us who have no clue what we're about.  It wasn't easy getting to this point though, and like I said, I am lucky enough to have great support.
You have all made me realize that what I have to say does matter to someone though, so maybe I"ll try a little harder to make time to share with you.  This is a wonderful escape for me, I do love to write (though I'm not always as eloquent as I pretend to be in my head), and even more, I love to offer hope & support to others in this crazy journey.  It's not just families affected by ADHD either, there's a whole pot of alphabet soup out there & so many of those combos don't have enough voices.  I encourage each of you to reach out to someone who can help you.  You might be surprised by how many others are feeling the same things you are & have no clue there's another family dealing with similar issues.  Parents/families of special needs kids are more common than you may think, and most of us are feeling just as overwhelmed & often lonely as you are.
I am a Christian, and I don't mean to isolate you if you are not, but it's very much a part of who I am & very much a part of where my strength comes from.  Actually, it's often the ONLY place my strength comes from.  In the most difficult of moments, I can lean on the fact that God is my son's Father & I should love him as much as He does.  I am human, so I will never be able to love quite as perfectly & definitely not as unconditionally, but I sure come as close as I can!!  God has made my son who he is for a reason, and He has loaned him to me for yet another reason.  Some days I question those reasons quite honestly, and some days I literally cry out "WHY ME?", but I know it is all for a greater purpose than I can understand at this time.  I am very weak, but just as God told Paul, His power shows up best in weak people.  Wow, I must have super powers then 'cause...  well, I'm weak.

All that aside, I just want each of you to know I am thinking of you, and your children, and these days are hard - so hard - but they will get better.  The rewards we will each earn from the struggles of these children is so much more than we can imagine, and that's the truth whether you believe in God or not.  Your children WILL one day see all that you have done for them & they will one day thank you in their own way.  Do not give up on these beautiful children, or yourselves.

I'll be back soon to share about my latest meeting at school & how very overwhelming life is at this moment.  Right now I just don't have it in me.  I don't want to talk about it.  I just wanted you to all know I appreciate you entrusting me with your own worries, fears, and joys & I really do care.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My trip to Holland. (A day in the life of an ADHD family.)

Wow.  I just found this tucked away in my blog posts.  I wrote it (about a year ago) & never posted it.  I'm assuming I second-guessed my sharing, but I don't know.  I think I'll share now.  I'll share now because I have friends struggling & I want them to know they are not alone.  I'll share now because I have friends who don't believe things could really be all I say.  I'll share now because I'm sure I have friends who don't believe ADHD is real.  I'll share now also because some stranger may stumble upon this & fall into any of those descriptions as well.  Friends, strangers, anyone reading this...  ADHD is so real, and it's a struggle for children & adults, boys & girls, rich & poor, country folks & urban dwellers...  You get it, ADHD can impact anyone's life.  There's not really a lot of research put into it like Autism (though most ADHDers do seem to fall somewhere on the spectrum), or several other childhood diseases/disorders/etc.  There's not a lot of awareness either, just lots of (bad) jokes.  Maybe if more of us dealing with it, either directly or through our children, share our experiences then people will start to understand that ADHD is so much more than those jokes imply.
So, here's a glimpse into my trip to Holland...

My son has ADHD.  My life is incredibly hard because of it.
I hope that one day he doesn't read this & hate me for it.  I hope that he is never embarrassed by who he is, how he thinks, or what his mom (and dad) shared with the world.  I feel like too many people are keeping quiet though, and so they feel alone...  plus the outsiders - the ones who TRULY believe that you can "spank away" the ADHD, or that it's "made up" by parents.  You know, those of us who are lazy & don't want to put effort into raising our kids.  bwahahaha!  If only they knew!!  So, here it is - parenting an ADHD kid from a non ADHDer's point of view...
My son is amazing.  Quite possibly more amazing than a neurotypical child in so many ways.  How?  He doesn't give a flying flip about what other people think, how other people see things, or how much society pushes him to fit into the "norm".  He likes what he likes.  He does what he does.  He is who he is & for the most part a stranger's opinion means nothing to him.  Wouldn't it be fabulous to live like that?!  He's also so very creative & full of life.  I mean FULL of life.  He sees the world in all it's beauty & is overwhelmed & excited by every tiny little thing.  He doesn't walk through life only focused on his destination - he takes in ALL the scenery.  Every. last. little. bit.  He also stands his ground.  if he believes something to be the truth you will not convince him otherwise.  Really, he's amazing.  Aren't all KIDS?  ...let's stop focusing for one second on his diagnosis & remember that HE'S A KID.  So many adults seem to forget that about him.  Even his own parents.  Because his wisdom is beyond his years & his stamina is well beyond ours.  ;)
My son has combined type ADHD (CHADD has info of the types of ADHD here).  As with most cases, he also comorbid conditions (read about those here at ADDitude Magazine) of ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) which is more difficult to manage than you can even imagine, & some SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder), which does seem to be slowly improving.  He has some other things going on that lead us to believe there's more...  but there is no official diagnosis beyond what I've listed & really that's not even what I'm here to talk about.  :)  I just wanted to offer some FACTS about the stuff he lives with daily.  Now, let me tell you what I live with daily...
My day starts anywhere from 6-7 (though occasionally much, much earlier).  I don't even have time to get a cup of coffee in me before K comes bouncing in, demanding things & making insanely annoying sounds.  He is a big fan of screeching.  Always has been.  ALWAYS.  Every year I think he'll outgrow it...  but, not so much.  (He's 6.5 by the way.)  He wants breakfast (and I say a silent THANK YOU because he's actually hungry!), but he wants to eat it in "THIS ROOM".  When I tell him to sit at the table instead, all hell often breaks loose.  On the days it doesn't, he gets his brother (he's 1.5) in on the action by telling him to scream, or throw things, or whatever else crazy idea comes to his mind.  I finally get food in him, give him his meds (that take an hour to kick in), and try to sit down & do a devotional with him.  Some days that doesn't go so well (like today).  So, he moves on to dancing around, throwing toys (in a playful way, but still!), banging on anything that may make a loud sound, and of course there's screeching.  Often there is yelling too.  If I'm lucky, by this point I've gotten at least part of a cup of coffee down.
Once he's *finally* dressed/brushed/shoed for school, we head off.  If we're walking, there's usually a big struggle of keeping up with him while pushing his brother.  Making sure he doesn't run in front of cars (our neighborhood has no sidewalks!), and trying to keep him from screaming & waking up all the neighbors.  Usually his meds do kick in sometime on the way to school.
I get a "break" for 7 hours while he's in school, but I spend a lot of that time worrying that he's being ignored by classmates, yelled at by staff, not getting enough attention from his teacher, and of course I know he's hardly eating any of his lunch even though I packed his favorite things.  (On the subject, let's not judge other kids' lunches, okay?  I put stuff in there that isn't ideal for what I want a kid eating, but my goal during his medicated hours is to get SOMETHING in him.  If that means that today he's eating Cheetos, Muscle Milk, & freeze dried apples, then that's what it is.  ...though that would honestly be a feast for him.  I'm more likely to see 3/4 of the Muscle Milk & all of the apples back at home for snack time.)
When I pick him up, he's usually in a pretty good mood.  Sometimes he gets to have a playdate or we go somewhere fun, but usually he has a schedule that we stick to.  Ever minute of his day has to be planned out or he goes apesh!t.  Sorry, but that's the honest truth.  He thrives on schedules.  ...can you imagine having to keep up with a toddler AND ensure that your 6.5 year old is following a schedule every minute of the day?  EX.HAUS.TING.  For real.
Around 4 the fun starts back up.
Screeching.  Yelling.  Silly noises.  Running into walls.  Banging on things.  You know, anything loud & crazy.  He loves that stuff.  Keeping him busy (and sticking to his schedule) helps a lot, but some days are just CRAZY.  Also, if he had a rough day at school, he's probably starting to take that out on me by now.  Yay.  I feel honored that he knows I love him so much that he can't hurt me...  but, man, does it hurt!  It's so hard.  I find myself yelling.  I hate yelling.  I find myself wanting to run away.  I find myself losing my ever loving mind!!  ...but it's only 4pm!
Dinner time always goes the same.  We all sit down, the food is served, and immediately "I don't like..."  "I am NOT eating...".  Every time.  Even the days that I specifically make stuff he likes, so that I don't have to hear all that.  Once he finally starts eating something, he also starts getting his brother to act up again.  Spitting grapes across the table, screeching, standing in the high chair...  If he spills something WHEN he spills something (because he's acting silly), he licks it right off the table.  Yum.  Some days he throws such a huge fit over eating his food (because, you know, his favorite food from yesterday is horrendous today), that he's left sitting all alone at the table an hour later.  That doesn't go over well - he starts throwing the chairs or banging them into the wall.  He calls us names.  He screams loud enough that I'm actually really surprised the cops have never been called.  Eventually he does eat the food, but mom & dad are mentally exhausted by then.  Yes, pick your battles...  we do.  Sometimes he really needs to eat though.  He's just too skinny.
The rest of the evening is full of some laughter, lots of screaming, often crying, more screeching, lots & lots & lots of activity.  I've never, ever seen a kid move so much!  I wish words could explain how much he GOES.  They can't though.  He's just always, always, always moving.
He gets a sleep aid with dinner.  It takes 2+ hours to kick in, even though it's supposed to make him tired right away.  hahaha, funny.  By 8(ish) he's supposed to be winding down for bed.  He usually is at least in bed by 9.  But bedtime is full of rituals.  He has to have a certain blanket, he has to have his Dreamlight turned a certain way, must have the right white noise on, he has to give us hugs in a certain order, be tucked in, have his water, then he has to say his prayer (the same one, always), then tell his dad the "magic words" (he's said these since he was 2, though he has at least shortened it!) "mwah, mwah, mwah, have a fabulous night-night, check & bye-bye.  If I'm in my room check on me 5 times & cuddle with me googaplex times.".  Then I have to tuck the blanket up by his head, hug him, & he has to tell me the magic words.  All done!   ...hahahaha, no.  Then he has to tell me anything & everything he can think up on the spot to keep me from leaving.  AND, when I finally get to leave, I have to lay in my bedroom next door until he's asleep.  Plus, we have to have certain lights on.  (Heaven help you if you turn them off in the middle of the night because he WILL wake up!)  If all of those things as done just right, he'll be asleep in 15-30 minutes.  ...at least for a while.  :p
Then, 2am comes & he screams for me.  He can't sleep.  Some days I can just sit with him & he drifts back off... some days it's a struggle.  Some mornings he's up at 4am (or earlier, blah) to start the day.  A lot of those days he will go play video games & not wake me.  ...on purpose.  He turns on every light in the house though, and I have mommy instincts that kick in even w/out all the lights on.  Those days, those are great.  Especially since the toddler still doesn't sleep all night either.  :)
Some of you may read this & think it's not that different from your days.  But this is EVERY day.  Without fail.  I really can't convey the full craziness of it in words either.  It's exhausting though!  In some ways, it has gotten better with age (he can do more for himself at least!), but not at all like I always thought.  I've known something was different about his since pretty much day 1, but I had no doubts by 9 months.  He's insanely smart, but the energy & lack of impulse control is so draining!!
I can't even tell you all the crazy things that he's done in public.  He punched a big screen tv (the display) in Best Buy once.  One day, he picked up a sausage & beat me with it while screaming "wiener!" at the grocery store.  He escaped from his preschool when he was 4.  Thankfully it was almost pick-up time & his Ma saw him.  He tried to dive off a 10' ledge into a shallow pool of water when he was 3, but I was *right there*, as always, and saved him.  I was always seen as a helicopter parent when he was a toddler, but if I wasn't 3 steps ahead of him, he possibly wouldn't have survived his own lack of impulse control.  We got lots & lots of notes/calls about him hitting/pushing/shoving kids in preschool.  I had to chase him through all of Costco once.  Just recently he walked across a street right in front of a truck that was *luckily* watching & slammed on their brakes.  He's thrown the most epic fits of all time in public, and as others gawked & commented on my parenting skills, I proceeded with the directions I had been given in behavioral therapy (yeah, get off your high horses people, some of us DO set boundaries & still end up as THAT parent in the store).  I've been slapped, hit, pinched, called names, yelled at, kicked...  and cried on more times than I can count.  At 6.5 he still sometimes has tantrums bigger than most 2 year olds can throw.
I tried EVERYTHING I could to help him, without medicating him.  It isn't an easy decision for any parent to make, to medicate their precious child.  It wasn't about me "controlling" him or "not wanting to deal", it was knowing that he couldn't function in this world unmedicated.  Without meds he has no control over his actions, he can't focus on anything, and he's crazy mean.  I still question my choice to medicate him.  Daily.  However, he's doing well (academically) in school, he's able to go out & do "normal" things during the day, and he's this amazing, thoughtful & loving kid.  When I took him in to see about medicating him, the director made it clear that they do not like to use medication as a first line of help.  Before our interview was even finished, before his official tests were even back, she suggested I go ahead & make an appt with the psychiatrist.  It was obvious to her that I HAD tried every other option & that he needed more help than I could give him.  His psychiatrist has been great, and being medicated has really helped him in so many ways.  I can't say if I'll continue to medicate him forever, but I can say that HE prefers the way he feels medicated.  He feels out of control & sad when he's not medicated.  At 6 he knows that?!
Stop judging us.  Stop thinking we're lazy parents because we medicate our kids.  Most of us medicate them so they can function in school & we see very little of that side of them at home.  We all struggle with the choice we made (parents who don't medicate struggle with that choice too!), and we're all just trying to do the best we can for our kids.  Also, doctors aren't just handing out pills.  It's not that easy.  ESPECIALLY for young kids.  Most pediatricians won't medicate young kids & there aren't tons of child psychiatrists out there (at least not around me, and I live in one of the biggest cities in the US).  Nobody wants to create zombies out of children, we just want to help them see the world clearly & be the best they can be.
Oh, and also, stop the crap about spanking it out of them.  You can't spank ADHD out of a person any more than you can hug depression out, or smile aggression away.

I wake up. ...an update on being an (exhausted) ADHD mom.

Yesterday morning, Sweetiepiesparkles tripped over the sidewalk.  He'd had a rather rough day the day before, so I asked him if he was going to have another rough day.  His response was "I wake up mommy, I wake up.".
Such an innocent statement that had such a profound meaning to ME.  Lately (and especially this week!) I feel like just waking up = a rough day.  I've cleaned poop from places it shouldn't be, I've cleaned pee off of walls, I've gotten emails & calls about Kman from school, I've had a flat tire, endless laundry & dishes, complete exhaustion to battle (gee, I wonder why!)...  the list goes on & on.  It's nothing especially out of the norm (okay, maybe my kids don't usually poop outside in a pile of dog poo...), but when it all seems to be piling up...  Wow.
I feel overwhelmed & helpless.  I feel lost, and yet I'm the leader.  So many people truly seem to believe ADHD is not real.  I am here to tell you with so. much. conviction that it IS real.  The hardest part of having a child with ADHD is that he overwhelms the family.  I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, but sometimes it is bad.  He is SO MUCH.  He's more awesome than any kid I've ever met.  He's full of so much more energy than anyone I've ever met.  He's so, so, so smart.  He's the center of attention 110% of the day.  When he's not the center, for just a brief moment, he makes himself the center.  Everything in our lives revolve around him.  It's exhausting & just so very difficult.  Seriously, imagine one of your kids going 90 to nothing from 7am - 9pm (on a good day ;)) & pulling everything around him in to him, him, him.  When he's happy (which is not often enough!), the whole family is happy.  When he's angry, he sucks us all into anger.  When he's sad, we're all sad.  When he's anxious, we're all on edge.  The only thing he doesn't seem to share is all that energy.  I really wish he'd share that!!
I decided early on this summer to stop medicating him.  I grew to love who he was all over again (even though I became more exhausted).  He started eating & gained lots of weight.  He started sleeping (first time in 7 years!!!!).  He started being his crazy, carefree self.  So when it came time for school, I continued on without medicating him.  I met with the school beforehand & gave them a very detailed portfolio all about how awesome he is, and also all the quirks he has that would *no doubt* become apparent & need to be addressed.
From day 1, there have been issues, all of which are typical ADHD behaviors & nothing shocking to me.  He climbs the walls in the bathroom.  He doesn't stop talking, ever.  He sucks all the energy of the classroom into him *spotlight*.  He doesn't follow directions.  He doesn't pay attention.  He doesn't stop even after multiple warnings.  He stuck a paperclip in an outlet (who knew you needed to babyproof for a 7 year old?  ...well, actually, *I* knew).  He is a hot mess at school, and school just isn't the right place to be a hot mess.  If I homeschooled him, he could be all that, it would be okay, we would make it work.  Simple truth though, I have no interest in attempting homeschool.  At least right now.  Maybe not ever.  Who knows what the future will bring though.  So, back to the drawingboard we all go.  His teachers, his counselor, his #1 advocate (me, duh).  We all have to figure this out & make things right for him.
I asked him this morning what he wanted.  I asked him point-blank if he preferred being medicated.  He said, for school, yes.  So, there you have it.  I won't deny what he wants, since he knows what feels best.  I want to do right by him.  Is 7 too young to make that decision?  I don't know, but I know that I'm struggling, so I'll do what he feels is best.  Or I'll attempt it at least.  That means finding a new dr though.  One that will listen to me.  One that won't add meds on top of meds to cover up side effects.  The problem is, there aren't that many pediatric psychiatrists out there.  So, all those folks that think it's sooooo easy to get meds for kids & turn them into "zombies", let me tell you - NOPE.  Not so easy.   There are so many regulations around it all that it's like an act of congress to get them.  At least it is for me.
I think I planned on taking this post somewhere else entirely, but I got distracted by a phone call from the school.  (Go figure.)  Of course, I also happened to get a call from a robot-telemarketer that said "I just won a free trip to the Bahamas".  IF. ONLY.  I'd be on the first plane!!  ...no, actually I wouldn't, there are 2 amazing little boys here that need their mommy to be their voice when they don't have the words.  As exhausting as it is, I cannot imagine any greater calling in my life than to be the mother of these 2 incredible little guys.  Thank you God for knowing better than I.  For knowing that these lives would change mine in such a way that I can't even begin to comprehend.  Thank you God for entrusting such a spirited child into my care, so that I may grow to be a more patient & caring person.  Help me to do right by him & help me to know that it's okay to make mistakes - as long as I learn from them.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Whole 30 adventure - so far...

Over Christmas my sister (Healthy, Happy Shannon) asked if I wanted to join her in doing a Whole 30 (it's her second!).  I said no at first - give up DAIRY?! absolutely no processed foods? NO. MORE. CHOCOLATE?!!! (the hubby gave me a *crap-ton* of chocolate for Christmas)...  then I decided - why not?  I do love a good challenge after all!  Now that we're half way through this, & a lot of friends have asked about what it is & whether they should do it too, I thought I'd share my experience.

First of all, the shortened version of the rules are:
No sugar & no sugar substitutes, even if they're Paleo approved.  (So no honey or maple syrup even!)
No alcohol, no grains, no legumes, no diary, no white potatoes.
No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites.
No Paleo-ifying foods (no banana ice cream, no flourless brownies, no coconut flour baked goods, etc).
You can read the specifics here along with the reasoning behind them.

I wish I recalled better (or kept a journal) how each day went early on because I know there were some diet related issues happening here & there, but I forget all the specifics now.  Day 1 & day 2 were no big deal really.  Except for the part where I couldn't have creamer in my coffee!  I also had to catch myself before doing stuff like licking peanut butter off my hands after making the boys' sandwiches, or eating the leftover crust.  Around day 6 or 7 I wanted to "kill all the things!", it was a really rough day!  That was followed by a couple of days of exhaustion (I actually fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon one day, while the boys ran around doing who-knows-what.  Oops.).  On day 12 I wasn't hungry.  I didn't understand this one, it was really weird!!!  I am always hungry!  Now, on day 16, I'm not seeing what the big deal is about this whole deal.  Let's see if that lasts...  (For more on what to expect, check out this timeline.)

I'm a little shocked to say it, but at this point I really don't have any cravings anymore.  I also don't generally want to eat outside of the 3 main meals every day (which is what is recommended on the W30, no/little snacking).  I've grown to love coffee with just a little coconut milk.  No sugar, no dairy, and I'd probably be okay with just drinking it black if that's all I had.  :o   I feel AMAZING.  When someone sits in front of me & eats *insert anything yummy but not W30 approved* I really have no desire for it.  (Whereas most "diets" make you go crazy wanting whatever it is.) I have lots more energy & feel like I'm getting so much more stuff done these days!  (Granted, I also started working out regularly again, which helps a lot with energy & mood levels, so I suppose it's hard to say if it's the W30 or not.)  I feel happier & more relaxed.  I'm sleeping better (but that's also thanks to 2 kids who are *finally* giving their mommy a break!).  I think my biggest temptation so far has been to get on the scale.  I'm not really even doing this for weight loss (though I do hope it's a side effect ;)), but I'm super curious!  I'm not sure if W30 has done anything to clear my skin (that seems to be a big deal to a lot of people), but I am already aware that gluten causes my skin to break out.  Maybe this is how some people learn that?  I don't feel like my clothes are any looser, but I haven't worn much besides workout clothes & pajamas (sad, huh?), so who knows?  I'm learning to appreciate food in a new way, and learning that a lot of the crap I usually eat isn't really necessary.  I'm satisfied & enjoying what I'm eating (though all the eggs in the morning do get old), and I don't feel like I'm missing a thing.

I don't think this has been as challenging for me as it is for some people because it's really not all that different than my typical diet.  I eat a gluten free diet anyway & I don't eat tons of processed food generally.  I do usually eat a lot of dairy - I mean A LOT - so that's my biggest challenge really.  There is also more sugar in my diet than I really need (though not as much as a typical American consumes), and I am learning that I do eat out of habit/boredom some, which I'm not doing now.  I do know I'm a stress/comfort eater, so I'm glad I haven't had a day that really drove me to wanting to fill that need.  Though, again, my mood is so much happier that I'm avoiding typical stressors just by having a more positive attitude.  It's also not as challenging for me as for some people because I am lucky enough to be a very disciplined person (when I want to be).  If I say I'm going to do something - especially if I make it public knowledge - I do it.  I think it's one of my better traits.

As of right now, I'm not sure what my next step will be after the 30 days are up.  I will say, I've been thinking of bubble tea a lot (not quite "craving" it, but it's floating in my head a lot).  I think I may have to have one on day 31 (and, wow, I don't think I've had any since we move to Houston!), but there's nothing else I feel like I'm just really wanting to indulge in.  I feel like "rewarding" myself on day 31 by eating a bunch of crap would be rather silly.  Right now I feel like I may continue on a mostly Paleo diet going forward.  Probably not quite so strict (I may lick the peanut butter off my fingers again & possibly go out to eat from time to time), but eating REAL FOOD feels right.  I'm also kinda considering a little less meat in my life again...  but I'm not sure I want to jump back into vegetarianism again just yet.  I may challenge myself a little with a vegan/Paleo diet attempt even - but not right away.

So, there are my thoughts on this Whole 30 thing so far.  I do think it's a great thing to try.  If you have any amount of desire to see what it's about, just do it.  It's ONLY 30 days.  I know that seems hard, but it's really not!  I know what you're thinking... keep in mind, that while I am doing this, no-one else in my family is.  I totally get that it's hard to feed yourself in this way when the rest of your family is wanting to eat differently, but it's totally possible.  Also, I've already found myself considering how I can slowly sneak the rest of the family (well, the kids at least) over to a diet more like this.  Yep, 16 days in I'm already realizing how beneficial it would be for all of us.  :)