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All posts for the month July, 2015

How It’s Going

Published July 29, 2015 by sarcasmica

I wanted to record my son’s journey with the meds. Mostly because there is SUCH a stigma with it all. Like, debilitating. As a parent you always want what’s best for your child. Always. When you find out you have a kid who’s going to go through life with constant struggle and frustration for something he has no control over, it’s beyond difficult. It’s heart-wrenching. Your own body created this child…. with some help from a male, ideally, so when your offspring is just left of typical you cannot help but feel guilt. Logically, it makes no sense. But with my mom brain, it’s completely understandable.

So my husband and I have struggled for most of our son’s life with how to manage him. How to deal with him. Since he began to talk completely at 2 it’s been a head-scratcher…for everyone involved in his life! We always knew something was challenging about him, but not developmentally. Nothing standard. Sensory issues were the first tangible difference, so we handled that. We helped him to handle it, more importantly.

This was and has been a giant struggle for us. Next up is school. School problems have been a constant since preschool. Constant. But no one knew what to do with him because he was so smart. Smart, but seemingly incapable of applying any of it.

At 8 years old we find out he has Dyspraxia and ADHD. The ADHD is the school’s biggest issue with him. Once I got passed my own issues and misgivings, I was able to take a hard look at the facts. My kid has all kinds of ability to be at grade level, but his brain will not allow it in a school setting. It’s impossible. His processing skills and motivation and ability are on the floor, while his IQ and ability to understand are close to the ceiling.

I’m not saying he’s gifted, because he’s not. He’s just super smart…. as long as “smart” isn’t defined by actively listening to a lecture, hearing directions, and then being able to COMPLETE a task afterwards. He was lost at, “Good morning class.”

For this and 486 other reasons, my husband and I decided to try medication. Not because we can’t handle our kid. Not because it makes our kid easy to deal with. Not because it provides some lazy parenting “easy” button, but because he needs help making his brain work for him. He cannot physically force his frontal lobe to communicate with the rest of his brain to tune in and stay in. There is no gluten-free-sugarless no wheat combo of diet that is going to remap the synapses and messages in his head. We have counseled and therapied our son to the max of where his own body can get him and now we need interventions. It happens to come in a prescription bottle from the pharmacy… hopefully. If he was diabetic, we would give him medicine. If he had a thyroid problem, we would give him medicine. This is not hugely different from the other physical impediments that need medical assistance.

This is new to us. All I can say is the amount of stigma, the giant cloud of public opinion, the dark cloud of family opinion, has honestly influenced the way I parent my kid and that is unacceptable.

No one else can be his mother, therefor no one else can make this decision and it does not come lightly.

I wanted to document our journey with this because there IS another option. There is an option to try what works best for your family, and if that solution is medication, that’s ok! I feel like this is the new breastfeeding debate. So many people were against breastfeeding for so long that clubs and national organizations were started to spread awareness and just the option to choose for yourself.

We deserve that. Parents deserve to have options.

Ok. Soapbox is now in the closet.

So today we are sitting at day 6 on Aderall. I have only increased the original dose one time. So far the side effects have been changes in appetite, but even that is moderate. It’s summer. It’s hot. My kids are fairly picky eaters to begin with.

My husband and I had a conversation with our son about the meds. I told him “The main idea is that it will help you focus more.” [insert logical conversation explaining what ‘focus’ means and use examples from his classroom]

“So .. is this something you’d like to try?”
“YES!” [feel more than anything the urge to be ‘normal’ and not have to struggle for something that comes relatively easily for everyone around him in that answer more than just the word]
Done. Decision made.

Today we leave a fantastic O/T (occupation therapy) session where his therapist is extremely impressed with his ability to stay on a task. His completion of something without 27 redirections. I say, “I’m so impressed with how well T said your session went! How do you feel about that?”
“Good.””How are you feeling inside your body?”
“…. i’m feeling good. I feel like I can use auto pilot now.”
{choke back the urge to sound panicked}
“What does ‘auto pilot’ mean?”
“Well… it’s like my brain tells my body to do something, and my body just does it…. I don’t have to go back and think about it more.”
“Ok… and is that different from how you felt before?”
[snort] “yea. Before my brain would tell my body, but my body would not listen … at all.”
“And do you like feeling that way?”
“Yea, i do.”
breathe a big sigh of relief.
“Well, i’m really glad that you are liking the changes.”

No zombification. No lightning bolts have struck our house. No brains being snacked on. Things seem to be going pretty well, despite all the stereotypes and fear. I’m just hoping we are lucky enough to find a good balance with the medicine, and dosage, and don’t have to do a lot of switching and changing things up.

I just want my kid to be happy in his own head. I want him to feel success. I want him to feel equal and able to simply do the things a 9 year old boy can do. Please do not judge parents who have to make these kinds of choices. You have no idea what it involves. Parents will innately feel all the bad feelings of guilt and insecurity when such big decisions are made right alongside all the hopeful and positive ones. We do not need outside judgements adding to the weight of an already overwhelming load.

Fingers, toes, eyes and nose crossed that come September my son will have a marked advantage at 4th grade, unlike his attempt at 3rd, 2nd, 1st, etc etc

Bird Brain

Published July 29, 2015 by sarcasmica

I began volunteering last week. I found an incredible place near my house that cares for rescued pet and breeder parrots. Last week was slow and awkward as im not yet sure what/where/how to do everything, all the while dodging beaks and wings. This week was not much different except I wore a black shirt. Suddenly lots of birds were interested, and two even danced with me! One of whom offered some of his/her breakfast hot from the gullet which i politely refused.

Unless it was just an “oh yea, her. She’s back”, i found it quite interesting how many feathered friends i made today.  I’ve even comitted to adding another day of work with them. 

Todays interesting happs were:

1. African Grey bite

2. Dancing macaws

3. Avoided the toe munchers

4. Got The Big Guy to look interested in me and even chatter a little!

   
 

Pins and Pills

Published July 24, 2015 by sarcasmica

We started our son on Adderall today. This is one of those phrases you thought you’d never say as a parent. I was against medication …. until about two hours ago.

Not really. More like up until about two weeks ago.

Giving him his first dose felt a little like pulling a grenade pin, and running for cover to wait for the explosion.

I don’t know why. In theory it’s supposed to do the opposite. It’s supposed to calm the explosion happening in the mind of a kid with ADHD. But when you are talking about an amphetamine and a 9 year old, surely something bad will come of it, right?! It’s a DRUG, for chrissakes.

When the doc told me what she’d be prescribing, I immediately thought Dr. Drew and Celebrity Rehab.

https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=JN.Mg%2bVD9KzL0MA3ZupfiLEvw&pid=15.1&P=0

Would he get addicted? Would there be withdrawals?! I don’t know! Will his heart explode? Will he be a male version of Lindsay Lohan?

I’m trying not to stare and study him right now like a guinea pig in a lab. I’ve held off asking, “How are you feeling? How are you feeling now?”

“how ’bout now?”

I have not done it. It’s hard. I rrrrrrreally want to.

Once he actually swallowed the pill he kept walking around saying, “I don’t feel any different, mom.”

Here’s hoping we all get through the next 24hours with our minds intact, and our sanity firmly in place…. wouldn’t that be a hoot?!

(this entry is being cut short by my 4 year old having a tantrum in her room …. momma needs a margarita!)

I’m Pretty Cool

Published July 23, 2015 by sarcasmica

This has been something I’ve been working on this past year, more knowingly than not. I must say, it’s feeling good.

When you’re born into a biome, you grow into it.

(take a minute while I have a sip of coffee to contemplate that)

There are aspects of you that will emerge despite your environment, but by and large you are programmed by what surrounds you. When you become an adult and hear stories and see events in other people’s homes you begin to look back at where you came from and either appreciate or reject certain aspects.

My environment was heavily independent. Independent was given a term = strength.

As an adult, I do not fully agree with this sentiment. There is strength in being able to do things without help, but it also can greatly hinder you…   greatly. It gives someone the idea that asking for help is worse than the alternative. This turns into pride. Pride is a dangerous beast when left to grow on it’s own.

Pride as a feeling of accomplishment is a great motivator…. but if it was not taught that way, for instance because one might feel praising someone does not facilitate independence, it’s hard fought to come by later in life.

That said, I think i’m pretty cool now sitting here at the last ounce of 38 years on the planet. I’ve done some shit. I’ve accomplished some stuff. I’ve managed some hurdles. I’ve even jumped successfully over a few of them.

And that’s pretty cool.

I’ve suffered in pride and silence over some things because mainly I am no good at asking for help. Needing help makes you look weak, right?

No, stupid. It doesn’t.

Asking for help because your back no longer functions as it should and you cannot pick up a laundry basket and carry it down the stairs is common sense. It’s not something that is going to ‘fix itself’. So I got help, thankfully, from a good chiropractor. It has changed lots about myself.

Like, I can wash my stinky chonies.

It has allowed me to consider exercising. I am 38, overweight, on meds as a result and close to being diabetic. Obviously I cannot change that on my own, so I had to ask for help. I had to ask for the opportunity to pay someone to help me. (:) ) I am now working with an amazing trainer who understands a lot of my road because she has walked/jogged/sprinted/squated/burpeed down the same road. I can lift a barbell over my head and not have to fear bed rest for two days because of it.

It’s empowering to see yourself progress. Even if it’s slight. Forward is always better than backward.

I have been working with a therapist for myself and with my husband for our marriage. Asking a professional for help with issues you have fought over 3,000 times with no resolution is insane. Literally. Expecting a different outcome from the same process is literally the definition of insanity! Expecting you or your spouse to just “grow up and deal with it” is not at all realistic. In this case, asking for help is putting your pride aside for the well being of your marriage. That is not weak, that is strength.

My personal belief is that everyone has ‘shit’. Everyone’s shit is different, and it is processed uniquely. Who wouldn’t want to have a captive audience listen to you rant and ramble for an hour?! And not to interject what their own experience is, but rather give you tangible, useful insight to help you get better at what you want to get better at? If you can’t see the value in that, then maybe that speaks volumes to how much you actually might get from a session.

There are no scary tools in that room. She does not hypnotize you. Zero nipple clamps, from what i’ve seen. I promise. I sit on furniture, not The Rack.

https://i1.wp.com/img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110320032841/princessbride/images/d/d7/The_Machine.png

One valuable thing i’ve learned recently is this; “I am not responsible for your emotional well being.”

This has carried me through quite a bit.

Recently I have dipped my toe into the realm of work. I attempted to actually get a paying job at a facility where abandoned/abused farm and domestic animals are taken in, healed, cared for, and re-homed. It was a bit far from me, and after three attempts at a follow up and getting zero feedback, I went another direction. I’m now volunteering at a parrot sanctuary.

It’s amazing. Totally amazing! In my 20s I was a bird specialist for Petco. I loved it. … well, the actual animal handling and care part. Inventory, stocking, customer service were not my favorite, but the animals by far were the best part. I taught myself how to groom them, feed them, clean them, handle them , and in some cases tame them.

When I found there was a sanctuary close by, and they were taking volunteers, I was giddy. I barely slept the night before I began.

Volunteering with the birds made me feel useful. Purposeful. Smart. Capable. Things that you question as a mom, quite frankly. For the most part, I think I have two very smart, caring, well behaved kids while still encouraging their own personalities and abilities. They are still children, so they have their rabid feral moments…. heightened during the summer months.

But the things I get to do on my own, to help animals who were abandoned or abused by the people who committed to caring for them did more for me than it did for them, I suspect. These animals belong in a tropical forest somewhere. They belong in a flock or pair. It’s awful that a person decided capturing a thriving, healthy, living wild animal and caging and breeding it was more valuable than this animal’s life is terrible. And the magnitude to which this pet trade grew and demanded is disgusting.

To be able to feed, water, talk to, possibly hold or even touch these birds is magical to me and now I get to do it every week. It makes me feel great, and that is good, and I do not for an instant feel guilty that my life allows me the blessing to decide what to do with three hours of one day out of my week. I will not apologize for finding some happiness and fulfillment for myself because you know what? I deserve it, I DID work to get it, and by God I will appreciate it.

Losing My Mind & Hair

Published July 21, 2015 by sarcasmica

I have conquered two sessions with the trainer The Trainer so far. 

GOOO ME!

The first one left me crippled for two days. That was rough. Especially because I cannot even get to my front door without going up four steps. Then, if I actually want a shower or change of clothes, or to fall into a coma in my own bed, I have to go to the second floor. .. but I survived.

This week was much better. I’m still achy and sore, but I can sit and pee without needing a handicap railing beside me in the bathroom.

It’s all about where you set your standards.

So I’ve been on a bit of a kindergarten saga as of late. It’s occupied a lot of my time and brain cells, along with camping and summer school for the other kid, and just being plain awesome. My daughter was assessed and found lacking by the district. She is 11 days passed the age cutoff for entering Kinder this year. They test their IQ to determine whether or not they will wave the age restriction. Here’s the summary:

“Incoming kinders test between 85-110. Your daughter tested at 106, which is great! … however she would need to have a 125 to be waved through.”

…..huh?!

Long story short, we had to find a private school if we wanted to push her to do kindergarten. I took her yesterday to a private school off of my handy-dandy excel spreadsheet. I had made a list of about 10 “local” (i.e. not actually nearby) possibilities. I made an appointment for her to be assessed and later found out I was choosing off the wrong line. The school below this one was the one we could afford.

I swear to God, y’all, my brain is mush. And I don’t even really have a terrific reason why. I’m beginning to suspect i’m just stupid. How does one waste so much time and energy and not even recheck the facts?

Stupidity. That’s how.

So she met with the teacher anyway who deemed her unworthy of kindergarten admittance because “she isn’t a reader.”

….. she isn’t a reader after preschool, so she isn’t ready for kindergarten…. where they learn to read….

This whole thing has me seeing 50 Shades of Anger Management.

I gave up the ghost. I cant even say i’m that ashamed to admit it, either. I enrolled her in a pre-K that actually is just around the corner.

Also, we have decided to begin medicating our son. This is a long and hard fought battle to come to this decision. It was not at all taken lightly or easily. Medicating a kid is never something decided easily. For various reasons I wont go into now. Let’s just say i’m living with the decision and i’m certainly not excited about it … at all. But i’m convinced my son’s well being and growth is definitely worth it…. but i don’t wanna.

So I had an appointment made for this week. I was certain next week was the last of his summer school. He informed me I was wrong on Monday….. and after checking this, found he was correct. This is his final week.

The head is thankfully attached to my body. I have not burned down the house yet. It seems these are the bars for success for me lately.

So I called to reschedule my kid’s appointment since missing one arbitrary day is not as bad as missing the last day of school. I thought his appointment was made for Thursday.

So I rescheduled. As I looked at my calendar, I realized I actually correctly made his appointment for a great day and time and had to call back to re-re-schedule it.

I can’t even right now. I think this is the literal definition of that vague term. I. CANT. EVEN.

I can’t even keep a recorded appointment straight.
I can’t even read an excel spreadsheet right.
I can’t even keep a three week school schedule understood.
I can’t even.

In a bout of rebellion, I found myself alone for two hours today so I drove to the local chop shop = Hair Masters and cut about 6 inches of hair off. I love it. It’s thinning out anyway, and the initial cut is way too short given my natural bouncy curls, but in a month it’ll be the perfect length.

As I told the stylist, “My hair has started really thinning out. I’d be a lot happier if this would happen to the rest of my body as well.”

It was as if she has heard this once or twice before.

Pain & Gain

Published July 13, 2015 by sarcasmica

I started with a personal trainer. Here are some revelations that occurred afterwards:

Throwing up during a work out seems like it would be painfully embarrassing. Especially since i’m certain she’d make me still complete the circuit.

I was SOOOOO happy not to be driving a stick shift. (I took a spinning class a couple years ago, and was not so lucky)

I need a sweat absorbing car seat cover.

My hot tub understands me, and takes care of me

Having my shower, clean clothes, and bed on the second floor of my home is not such a great thing

Ouch

Up hurts just as much as down… and down has so much more potential for compounding the problem

I hope the “feeling great” thing kicks in soon

One more reason standing up to pee is an advantage

Ibuprofen cocktail, please

Carnival Revelation

Published July 11, 2015 by sarcasmica

Showers. That’s my revelation.

I was standing in line with my kids today at the Ferris wheel at the world’s most expensive carnival. As i’m calculating the cost of three of us riding the rusty, creaky, deadly contraption ($3.75/ticket one ticket per person per ride) it dawned on me. Imagine how much more money we would spend if the grubby, dirty, nicotine covered trolls who operate the machines were actually appropriately clean. Not sparking. Not even clean-shaven. Just scrubbed. I would be far less bitter about the cost of the ticket if I wasn’t handing it over to Grubby McDirty Pants.

I’m not saying a full dental overhaul. I’m not saying dress them formally. I just think a shower, and a clean shirt would go far.

I know it’s got to be a tough job. Constantly traveling, living out of something on wheels. No accessible running water, but come ON! The main goal is to take your children on the death-defying, lice-inhabited rides.

My kids did the “fun house”. The dude in charge was a growling, cranky, resentful carney. He was actually shouting at the small humans to hurry up down the slide.

There was no line, y’all.

They should have had him at a game booth. Have the aggro non-kid-friendly types at the game booths. Most parents aren’t going to fork over FIVE effing DOLLARS to let jr. take a crack at the dart game. No way. If i’m paying $5 for a game, you can be DAMN sure i’m the one holding down the water gun trigger. (and i did, and i won)

I’m not a rocket scientist, but I think I know a thing or two about marketing to families. Hose it off, decorate it, and slap a smile on it and you’re halfway there.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some e.coli cotton candy to eat.

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