Joys of Raising Children

I wake up in the morning. I check my agenda to determine what obligations I have for the day, and where I need to go, and what I have to get Kid and Baby ready for. I slowly clamour out of bed, wishing I hadn’t been up since 5:00a.m. As I am pulling on a shirt, I hear Kid exclaim excitedly

“OH, COOOL! Baby, come look! … Don’t let Mama see”

In a moment I had a series of thoughts run through my head. What are they doing that they shouldn’t? Are they making a mess? Are they getting into trouble? No… wait. His tone of voice made it seem like he was looking at something. Something that he did NOT cause. Something that would have happen in the natural world…..

And in that instant, I was filled with an extreme amount of dread. I knew exactly what he was looking at. I jump over my bed, and hide in the corner, as far away from his room that I could get
“Kill it! KILL IT!!!” I scream.

“…. Oh-kay Mama.” I could hear the sadness in the voice as I demanded he get rid of the spider he so desperately wanted to show his sister.

Treatment Update

The other day I had the great idea of trying natural ways to treat Baby’s ADHD. You can read about it here. After discussing with my husband, we would try the hardest one first.

No Dairy

I sat Baby down and told her what were thinking of doing, and why. I told her what that meant. No more milk at dinnertime. No more cheese on her sandwiches. No yogurt, or anything else that contains dairy. I explained that it was only temporary, and she seemed like she was willing to work with us.

I knew though, that it was going to take work and effort. I just didn’t think I would fail on the first day.

Baby at 7:30 in the morning: Mommy, I drank the rest of the milk.

Mom: What?

Baby: well, cuz you said I can’t have milk at dinner. I got rid of it.

Okay. I can’t argue that logic. I didn’t exactly SPECIFY the time, nor was I monitoring breakfast time. Twenty minutes later I am inspecting lunches. Baby? Does this sandwich have cheese on it?
Baby: Yup!
Mom: And is this yogurt in your bag?
Baby: Yup!

… well she already had milk today, no sense starting today.

Tuesday looked pretty much the same way, so by this point I decided to give up on this goal…. Perhaps the fish oil might be an easier natural treatment to try?

Summer Vacation

This summer Husband and I have decided not to medicate Baby for her ADHD. I knew that it would be a challenge for everyone involved.

Baby is going to have her challenge of attempting to “turn her brain on” and learn the necessary Life Skills to help her succeed in Grade 2. All without the aid of medication.

Kid is going to have to learn to not push his sisters buttons, and how to talk to her so that she will hear him.

Husband and I are going to have to deal with task of TEACHING her the Life Skills that she needs to learn this summer

And then there are countless camp leaders that are going to have to deal with the Hurricane that is my daughter. So far this summer, she has only been a part of 2 summer camps, but I have at least 3 more lined up – one of which is a week long, overnight, camp. For many of these camps, the leaders are teenagers with little experience dealing with children with behavioural issues.

Why would I make this decision, you might be thinking? Wouldn’t the social and education advantages outweigh the side effects that we see?

There are a number of reasons on why we made this choice. Some of them are good reasons, others are reasons that are not really reasons per say, but advantages of this decision.

First of all Baby lost 6 lbs being on her medication. This scared me. 6 lbs is not a lot of weight, but when she is already underweight and only 6 years old, 6 lbs is intense. It got to the point where her ribs were visible. I wanted to get her weight up, but since she was hardly eating on her medication this would prove difficult while she was still taking them.

Another reason was the “kickback” we were dealing with. Sometimes, her mood swings were 10x worse as the medication wore off then they were had she not taken them all day. I was getting to the point where I wanted to deal with small mood swings 100% of the time versus HUGE mood swings only 15% of the time.

It was also getting to the point that after about 6 weeks of her ON the medicine, we were seeing no difference in behaviour between her on the meds and her off the meds. The first time we saw this plateau, we increased the dosage (much to my dismay). When it happened again, I knew the doctors would want to increase her dosage again, and I have to say, I just was not comfortable with that.

Honestly though, the biggest reason why I made this decision is probably in conjunction with my “anti-medication” viewpoint. I never liked putting her on the medicine, and I definitely do not want her on medicine for the rest of her life. I am not the type of person who would see the medicine as a “fix-it” solution. I KNOW that it is merely a safety net, an aide so that she can learn the Life Skills. But I thought, if she does not have the opportunity to USE these Life Skills without the meds, then it would be almost pointless to spend so much time teaching these skills to her. So I figure this summer would be the BEST time to take her off the medicine and teach her the skills all while giving her the opportunity to use these skills.

Halfway through the summer, I regret my decision. Teaching an ADHD 6 year old girl Life Skills is HARD! I am both mentally and physically exhausted. ALL. THE. TIME. I wake up in the morning, and I am ready to go back to bed. I drop them(both Kid and Baby) at camp and I don’t even want to do the “mommy” things that I have to do, such as laundry and cleaning. I go to class and I can’t focus. Some days, I just want to let Baby have her meds just so that I can take a small break to regain my sanity.

/Le sigh. As much as I want to change my mind, I know this will benefit Baby in the long run. My job as a mother isn’t supposed to be easy. And so I trudge on. Reciting the reasons over and over in my head, as I search for the light at the end of the tunnel.

 
On a completely separate note, I did not in fact get into the Social Work Program for September, and so I am done school as of next month, and currently on the hunt for a job. Potentially more on this in my next post.

Perspective

Me and Baby have had a roller coaster of a day. She woke up in a good mood, for the most part, but then when I dropped her off at school she didn’t want to leave the car. I ended up getting two EAs to come out and try to persuade her to come to the classroom.

Meanwhile, it was Sports Day at their school, and I had graciously decided to volunteer. However, because Babys class had more than enough volunteers, I decided to go to Kids class to help. This did not really go over all too well with Baby. While I went to check on her periodically throughout the day, and she had her EA with her, she still had a pretty rough day that left her rather clingy. Thank goodness it was only a half-day.

Afterwards, Kid went to a friends house so I took Baby out for lunch. That was a mistake. Her attitude took a swan dive as soon as we got to the restaurant. I didn’t know if I should leave, or stay and try to get food in her stomach. Seeing as how she is already down three pounds in as many months, I opted for the latter. Once getting food in her, she seemed to improve immensely, but the afternoon was far from over.

Over the course of the next 3 hours we went from happy to mad to sad to defiant to tired to sick to sleeping in the car. The mood swings were enough to make anyone dizzy.

But then I thought about all the other horror stories that I hear from other parents of ADHDers. Some stories where their kids are violent, aggressive, and even abusive. Stories where parents get a breather maybe once in a blue moon. Where EVERY day is a day from hell. And I realized that at Babys WORST she is still BETTER than some of these kids at their BEST. That made me really thankful. Yes we have rough days, but to be honest they are so few and far between. Yes she has mood swings, but the biggest issue I have is that she is clingy which makes sending her to school more difficult. She has never been abusive, or mean. She has never hit me.

She has, however, told me that I am ruining her life…. but I feel that way too when I am sent to clean my room.

Yup. I really am blessed to have such amazing children. ❤

2014/2015 School Year

I just had a very informative meeting with the principal of my children’s school. Here in Canada, we are winding down our school year. The kids will have July and August off of school and head back at the beginning of the September.

While I can’t say TOO much, as nothing is official yet, and I know I have some local readers, I can say that 2014/2015 school year is going to be the best school year ever!

Baby, who was diagnosed with ADHD in February has had horrible luck with teachers. She starts Grade 2 in the fall, and in her short educational career has already been through SIX full time teachers!! In Kindergarten, even though she was attending for half days, she saw 3 teachers come and go.  One had a surgery and had to get a substitute for 3 months, and then we transferred schools half way through the year. Then for Grade 1 the poor girl went through another 3 teachers. Her regular teacher took a medical leave just before Christmas, and we all expected to see her back afterwards. A substitute was hired on a temporary basis. Well, the medical circumstances took a turn for the worse and the teacher decided she couldn’t come back. Unfortunately the sub had already made plans to travel overseas, so she had to take her leave and the school called in yet another substitute. I worry about Baby’s Grade 2 year as she seems to have a curse that follows her. 😛

Turns out Grade 2 is looking to be a pretty stable year. Baby will have a .6 and a .4 teacher. (which means that she will have one teacher in the class 60% of the time and another 40% of the time). This is ideal for Baby as she has been primed to see ‘some action’ as the principal phrased it. Also, a little birdie told me that there is a good chance that Baby’s teachers will BOTH be teachers she has seen in the past! I have also been told, on the down-low that she will have the BEST EA assigned to her!! I am more than excited to see the growth in her next year!

As for Kid… in the scuffle that is his sister, I am ashamed to admit that sometimes his needs and desires got pushed to the back burner. I have been proactive in the sense that I have kept his teacher up-to-date on the happenings at home, and there has been one particular EA who has taken a liking to my boy and makes a point of checking in with him sporadically to see how his emotions are being handled. He also sees the school counsellor regularly, so he is not being neglected in any way. I have just had to delegate his needs to outside resources. /hangs head in shame.

However, his Grade 4 year is going to be smashing! The little birdie told me that my son will be in a 4/5 split class, as he is ‘academically advanced’. This worries me a bit as INTELLECTUALLY he is fully capable of grade 5 work. Hell, that kid is capable of learning some university material and requests that I teach him more 2000 level neuroscience. However, he has a few issues applying that intellect into his work. I am also under the impression that teacher that is coming in is OVER-qualified for the position. Her education and experience is through the roof! I am told that she will be able to stretch his intellect and help him apply himself to the work! Yay!

I am also told that the same EA that has made a point of checking in with him this year will also be the EA that is in his classroom on a full time basis. So while he doesn’t have an official EA assigned to work with him, he will have  a familiar face in his class 🙂

As for me? Well, I am still waiting to hear back from the University about my Social Work application. However, I am not stressed. I know that I am fully capable of being the best Social worker, and am already working on gaining experience and education to better assist me in the position. Hopefully I hear back soon though. Other than that, I have been elected to be the secretary of Parent Council for the 2014/2015 school year!! Super excited for that, and what a wonderful opportunity to utilize my Office Administration Diploma!

The next year is going to see some tremendous growth for everyone in my family and I am so excited to see what the future holds, and incredibly blessed to have an amazing school that is helping me raise my children into wonderful, beautiful, compassionate adults!