Saturday, April 28, 2012
You don't have to feel like a wasted space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow
- Katy Perry
I heard this song on one of my many long drives for work, and this verse brought me to tears. It made me think of Connor.
He is scared about all of this, and rightfully so. Not just because of the unknown, and not just because of his struggle with the ordinary stuff. But also, kids are mean. Kids say cruel things. Kids can be colder than even I am at times. He's afraid that he'll be picked on, left out or have some sort of stigma put on him. It's kind of a catch .22, really. I tell him to be strong, and to be proud of himself and who he is. I talk to him about this not being some sort of bad, affliction type thing, but just simply a trait. Like blond hair and gorgeous blue eyes, this is just something he may have been born with. But now, do I teach him to hide this, to keep it quiet? Isn't that sending the message that he has something to hide? UGH!! Where's the balance? What do I tell my son? One of the things I've learned in my "immersion" is that children with this "disorder" tend to be on the more sensitive side. Good and bad, Connor is highly sensitive, and uber-empathetic. Good times are on the horizon....gooooood times.
He is clearly relieved that the testing portion is over. I think he was starting to feel like a lab rat. In the meantime, I've been overwhelmed with ideas and practices to put into place to help, and I am still meeting almost daily with his teacher. We're still waiting for the definitive answer. That will, fingers crossed, come soon. I may have mentioned....I don't "do" waiting. Perhaps my son's mamma has a little ADD in her, as well?
So far, aside from the waiting, the worst part of all of this has been the EEG. If you've never seen your child pass out, you really don't want to. During the hyperventilation exercise they do to trigger a seizure (if the child is prone to them), Connor fainted. If you know me well, you'll understand that I became completely unhinged. STOP DOING THAT TO MY BABY!!!!! While security wasn't called, it was close. Fortunately, the technician knew some wrestling moves and was able to "calm me down" a little. Just kidding, no mothers were harmed during the event, it really was beyond my vocabulary to describe how watching that felt.
Monday, April 23, 2012
"The waiting is the hardest part." - Tom Petty
So, the past week or so has been a blur, to say the very least. After the conversation that started it all, I've basically immersed myself in an effort to get educated. I have learned a great deal, but my spidey senses tell me I've only just taken the first of MANY steps. I'll go into what I've learned in another post.
In order to properly identify ADD / ADHD, some thought and due diligence needs to be done. Our first step was a complete physical work up. This is to ensure that there isn't some underlying metabolic or physiological condition that masks itself as the trait. Check.
The next step was an extensive and grueling evaluation with a Psychologist / Behaviorist. We met with a well respected head-shrinker in Schaumburg, answering questions for 2 and a half hours. How was my pregnancy with Connor? hahahahahaha! He was ten and a half pounds at birth, how do YOU think it was? Does he eat well? hahahahahaha! He eats well. See previous question. How does he get along with his sister? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! After that, Connor went in to speak with her alone, answering even more questions. I considered holding a glass to the door. I didn't. He also was required to take a test on the computer, which (don't ask me how) established his levels of concentration and distraction. Check.
After that, his teacher will submit her info package to the Behaviorist for further evaluation. I gave her until Wednesday to fill it out, but if my past history of returning things signed in a timely manner is any indicator of paperwork Karma, I'll see it sometime mid-May. Just kidding, she's great!
Our next step is an EEG. I know you're asking, "Why, Megan, pray tell, would they need to do a brain scan?" I know this because I asked, too. They want to rule out petite mal seizures. Often times, when Connor "goes away", he's staring off into space, almost trance-like. He'll actually do it in mid sentence, or in the middle of writing a letter on paper from time to time. He snaps out of it after a few seconds, but this does simulate a petite mal seizure. It would be a huge mistake to treat for ADD if, in fact, the issue is neurological. Big mistake. I doubt that he's having these seizures, but err on the side of caution, I always say. That appointment is scheduled for tomorrow, bright and shiny early.
So, the waiting....
We hustled to get this ball rolling. I've made all the appointments necessary, pushing to get them done as quickly as possible. But now, we wait. All of the results have to be interpreted by all the doctors involved, and then the "diagnosis" can be made. If you know me, waiting isn't my strong suit, especially not with regards to my kids and their well-being. This will take, apparently, weeks. Weeks?! What?!! I want an Oompa Loompa NOW, Daddy!! Ugh.
So, we wait.
Before I sign off, I'll share my favorite Connorism of the day. Kinda broke my heart.
Me: Hey, Con, I wanted to see how you were feeling about all of this stuff. I figure it may be a little confusing, huh?
Con: No, yeah, kinda.
Me: Wanna talk about it? Is there something that scares you, or is bugging you?
Con: I'm just worried.
Con: Well, see, if they say I have ADHD, then I'll be sad, because it's like I'll be in a different group or something.
What he was saying there is that he is afraid of the stigma, afraid of being "titled" and afraid of being considered different. Sigh.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Only a select few in my inner circle will "get" the title of this blog. For those not in the know, I'll explain....
But first, I must make a confession. I have never really subscribed to the whole ADD / ADHD "thing." This, of course, is the result of having perfect children. Snort. I always pessimistically viewed this "diagnosis" as a lazy excuse for parents who had out of control kids. Why do these people not get it? Control your child!!
Ha! Which brings me to the title of my blog. Before I knew what I am beginning to know now, one of my favorite jokes was (is):
Q: How many kids with ADD does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Wanna ride bikes?
I still like the joke. It's just that now, I am living with it. If you can't laugh at your life, what can you laugh at, really?
Technically, I don't really have an ADD / ADHD child. We're just at the very start of this process. He hasn't been diagnosed with anything, yet. What I know is, Houston, we have a problem. My son, Connor, is amazing. AH-MAZE-ING. He's eight and a half, and pure awesomeness. He is freakishly (in a good way) smart, highly empathetic, playful, exasperating, tiring and simply beautiful. He is in second grade, and reading at a sixth grade level. He has the ability to break down a problem and solve it quickly, and can put together a complex Lego kit in under an hour. He is sensitive, loving and can't keep his hands off you if he loves you. When he sees me cry, he silently hugs me. It's how he rolls.
He also can't concentrate on any one thing for longer than 90 seconds. I've dubbed this as his "going away."
In First Grade, I received weekly, sometimes daily, notes home from his teacher stating her opinions of his behavior and lack of focus. We had occasional conversations about it, but I didn't take a lot of it seriously. I was arrogant, and was sure that she just couldn't keep my uber awesome son engaged. I figured this was all age appropriate behavior. I spoke to his Pediatrician, and she agreed. He wasn't behind academically, so no worries. Plus, I had his sister ahead of him. Suffice it to say, I have alarmingly intelligent children. What I am learning is that how one learns and performs isn't necessarily how the other does. Duh.
But, lo...Second Grade dawns. Apparently, not all improves with age. However, we were blessed with a really proactive, engaged teacher. We met regularly to discuss not what was wrong, but what could be done. Together we came up with a plan. And then, together we came up with another. And another, and another....and so on. We changed diet. We changed sleep. We tried positive reinforcement. We tried loss of privileges. We let Connor decide what would help. We tried EVERYTHING. It. Just. Got. Worse.
We had a conversation at school this past Monday. In three and one half hours, all Connor was able to accomplish, due to distraction, was to write four sentences. Four sentences. What is that?! When we discussed this, I burst into tears. Not because I was disappointed in my son, but because I was completely and literally out of answers. I was tapped out. I had no more ideas. I was ashamed. Good Moms always know what to do "next", don't they? I was relieved that his teacher had no more ideas left. For a minute. It didn't help, because regardless of what she said, I still, in my heart, knew I was failing my child.
So, suddenly, I maybe wanted to know more about this ADD / ADHD. I had to bitterly choke down the notion that it was, somehow, an excuse for poor behavior or lazy parenting. I know that I have tendencies toward lazy, but with regards to my children, I am often a Tiger Mom. More than once, and with more than one person, I have been accused of being too hard on them with regards to discipline and expectations. I will not make an apologies for this. If they had "C" brains, I'd accept "C" grades. I also have zero tolerance for poor manners. But this goes beyond that. Connor does not exhibit poor manners. To the contrary, he is exceptionally well mannered and caring. He just can't get shit done. I digress..
I had to have a conversation with my ex-husband, a task I typically dread, about this issue. I was pleasingly surprised that we were on the same page. We aren't always, but I have learned to nod and smile, and then do what I know is right, regardless. But together we (I) came up with a game plan, and made the necessary appointments. I'll let you know how they go as the results come in.
I am grateful to the friends and family and teachers that have rallied. I was not expecting it, and am humbled by it. I've gleaned a TON of advice and knowledge about ADD / ADHD, and I am optimistic. I've had several "light bulb" moments in the past few days, and I'm trying to organize it. Stay tuned....
* the title of this blog comes with special thanks to Tim Tunnell. I needed a name that reflected not only the blog, but my sense of humor as well. Sometimes, when you're in the thick of an issue, you need someone to remind you of who you are, and I thank Tim for that.