Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?

Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it

Randomness April 30, 2010

Filed under: Blogging,Family,Fire,Kids,Life,Uncategorized — Steph @ 9:19 am

It is snowing today and of course the wind is blowing.  A couple of weeks ago we had days in the 70’s and Elizabeth and I spent a lot of time at the park.  The last two weeks it’s been windy, rainy, cold or dreary and now it’s snowing.  Wow I love Wyoming in the Spring!  We have cabin fever big time.

The man who bought our house has completed the re-construction.  They offered to give us a tour.  I am the ONLY one not interested.  Joe hooked some friends of ours up with our realtor’s information because they’re looking for a rental.  They are going to look at our old house because it’s close to town, work, etc…  There. is. not. enough. Klonopin. in. the. world. people.  My state of mind is so much better than it was but I still struggle and I still require anti-anxiety meds to sleep without nightmares.  I can not imagine what would happen if I went over there.  PTSD patients don’t get “cured” they go in to remission.  The smallest of things can trigger a relapse.  I am almost positive going back in that house (rebuilt or not) would trigger a relapse.  No, thanks!

Elizabeth hasn’t tried to escape the loony bin again.  I don’t think it’s because her escape attempt scared her, I think it’s because the weather has been too nasty.  Thanks Mother Nature!

Joey keeps bringing home projects for school.  I am sick of them.  He had to build a wire.  Then he had to bring home a book of like 175 science experiments and choose one to do.  I am not a “project” kind of mom.  I am NOT crafty or artistic, the day they built me they skipped the creativity aisle completely.  Hopefully we can find step by step instructions on the net that even I can’t screw up!

Also they are going to the local museum for some pioneer thing.  This school (or the teachers I’m not sure which) are all about role playing and creativity.  Great, I’m all for that.  A couple of months ago he had to dress up like Abraham Lincoln for a play.  Now he has to dress like a pioneer child would dress for this trip.  He also has to pack a lunch, but it can’t just be a sandwich and fruit.  It has to be a “pioneer lunch”.  They sent home a list of foods pioneer children probably ate.  I’m not even sure we can find some of this stuff here this time of year.  Also?  No brown bags or lunch boxes.  We have to use a “pioneer lunch box” so they’re sending home some can we are supposed to attach a wire to and stick his lunch in there.  Of course it goes without saying they didn’t have bottled juices, milk cartons, etc… in pioneer days.  I have NO idea what to send for him to drink or what to contain it in.  My favorite part of the whole thing?  His interpretation of what he’s going to wear… “hey mom, I get to dress like a hooligan for once without you making me go change”.  Awesome!  We recently watched “Where the Red Fern Grows” one of my all time favorite books and it was interesting the movie was on because I had just suggested the book to Joey and then it was on.  Anyway when the boy goes to the city to pick up his pups, he packs bread and dried salt pork.  He drinks from a well in the city.  Do you think the teachers would be impressed if I sent Joey with a loaf of bread and some jerky and told him to drink from the hose?

Elizabeth wanted peanut butter toast for breakfast.  I was all “OK” it’s better than what she usually chooses (Oreo cookie Pop-Tarts anyone?).  Then she says “I need chips with my sammich”.  I can’t fault her 3 year old logic.  “Sammiches” at lunch come with chips, if she’s gonna eat a “sammich” for breakfast why shouldn’t she get chips?  I gave her tortilla chips.  Hopefully that’s less of a fail than if I’d given her Cheetos.  They’re made with corn and all that!

Another blogger wrote a post yesterday that really offended me.  I’m not gonna link to her because I’m not giving her the traffic.  She’s a pretty popular blogger I think although I’ve been reading her for a while and don’t much care for her.  Anyway, her post was about PR and at one point she quoted an article from a while back that suggested everyone should have a blog.  She disagrees with this for various reasons, she said not everyone can write, entertain an audience, and/or is relevant.  I disagree with that in so many ways.  If everyone wants a blog then more power to them!  If they like to write out their thoughts and they like to read them then they are relevant and have an audience.  It may not be the type of audience this blogger is referencing but it’s a valid audience none the less.  Lots of blogs start off as a way to keep long distance relatives up to speed on their family’s doings.  How is that not relevant?  I’m probably over-reacting but it really made me scratch my head that she thinks she’s the czar of blogging and what’s relative.


My Day – Part 2 April 23, 2010

Filed under: ADHD,Kids — Steph @ 8:28 am
Tags: , ,

Just for Amy I am doing this before I do anything else today.  🙂

So when we left off I was on the phone with my mom and the call waiting beeped in with Joey’s teacher’s cell phone number showing on the screen.  I knew her number because she called me Tuesday.  I put my mom on hold and clicked over.

I wrote a while back about Joey being different. He has been doing EXTREMELY well behavior wise in school, but they can tell if he doesn’t take his meds.  On Tuesday he forgot to take his meds and his teacher called to tell me he’d had a really “off task” day.  Apparently there were 3 of them “off task” that day and she just had a heck of a day.  Joey received two “re-focus slips” which essentially means they sent him to another room to calm down and re-focus his behavior.  When Joey got home that evening he was really on the defensive about his behavior.  Unfortunately he’s using his meds as a crutch for bad behavior.  When I asked him what the deal was he was all “I just couldn’t focus and get on task mom, people were talking to me and I had to talk back to them and then I got in trouble and no one else did and it’s all because I forgot to take my pill” and so on…

One thing we are really struggling to accomplish with Joey is to make him accountable for his actions and behavior.  He’s the king of “it wasn’t my fault!”  He is forever blaming everyone else for his poor choices and now he blames his illness.  He’s been like that for a couple of years now and I talk until I’m blue in the face and he still just doesn’t take accountability.

Anyway, now you have the “back story” to yesterday’s phone call.  When I clicked over it was Joey on the phone and he was crying really hard.  So hard I could NOT understand what he was saying.  At first I thought he was hurt but after a minute or so I managed to figure out he wasn’t hurt but was instead in trouble.  Finally his teacher came on the phone to explain to me what was going on.

She explained he had gotten a 3rd “re-focus” that morning in art class and when you get three of them you have to stay after school at what they call “Academic Academy”.  She asked if he’d had his meds and I assured her he definitely had that morning.  I asked her if he was having another bad day and she said she didn’t really know because she had only seen him briefly that morning.  They go straight to “specials” which happened to be art yesterday.  We talked a little more about his behavior that week.  She actually felt bad he was going to have to stay after school.  She told me she’s pretty lenient with him in some things, especially on what she said are his (very rare since he’s been on meds) “off days”.  She explained how on days he didn’t have his meds she could tell right away and he was like a little “bee buzzing around the classroom talking and flitting and just off task”.   She said she had to follow through with the “Academic Academy” consequence for him because it was a school rule and his 3rd strike was not in her class room.  I assured her I completely understood.  I think she felt bad because his reaction to the discipline was so drastic.  I have NO idea why he was SO upset over it.  He doesn’t like getting in trouble, he’s very sensitive that way, always has been and he’s had a really rough week and made some poor choices that had some severe consequences at home so I can only assume he was afraid of what punishment he’d face at home this time.  To be honest I didn’t really have anything left to punish him with when he got home yesterday.  He’d  had a really bad day on Tuesday and is already grounded from his computer, DS, and sleepovers so I really didn’t have anything left!!  I won’t go in to the whole day on Tuesday because this post is already getting long, I will just say he stayed after school for “Activity Club” on Tuesday but when I got there to pick him up he wasn’t where he was supposed to be and he had lied repeatedly to a teacher that afternoon about where he was supposed to be.  That got him grounded.

She also told me he takes a short time in the mornings to settle down and get focused.  I think he needs to take his meds a bit earlier in the morning so they kick in before he actually gets to class and needs to be on task.  They are time release meds and they’re made to focus them during the day when they really need to be focused but wear off in time for bed so they can sleep.  We’re still learning exactly when they are most effective.

So, that’s my story.  All of this happened before 11 AM.  I know this part isn’t quite as intriguing as the first part but it all fit together to make my day just super fun!

I had to laugh when I was telling my mom about Joey and his “Academic Academy”.  Why can’t they just call it detention?  That’s essentially what it is?!  I’m guessing the new term is meant to lessen the blow to the kid’s self esteem?  But I truly have no idea.

The best part?  When Joey got home yesterday after spending an hour after school he says “I actually kind of enjoyed the Academic Academy because I got to get caught up on homework”

I was totally speechless, but I thought “only my son would enjoy detention”.


My Day part 1… April 22, 2010

Filed under: Family,Kids,Life — Steph @ 12:29 pm
Tags: , ,

So Elizabeth and I have been hitting the park this week.  It’s been very nice out, but in typical Wyoming fashion we now have like 5 days of rain forecast.  That pretty much sums up my day so far and it’s only 1:00 in the afternoon.

The day started off OK, Elizabeth wanted to go outside or go to the park.  I said ” we can’t today sweetie it’s cold and rainy out, we’ll have to find something to do inside.”

So she decides to eat breakfast and watch cartoons and I’m all “OK, you do that and I’ll catch up on folding some laundry”.  I’m in my bedroom folding laundry for about 20 minutes when I realize it’s awful quiet in the living room and there’s no way the Imagination Movers are THAT engrossing.  So I finish folding the shirts in my basket and come out to the living room to check on Elizabeth and….

SHE’S GONE!!  The front door is standing wide open and she’s nowhere to be found!!

I enter full on panic mode.  She’s tried to go out the front door a couple of other times so we put one of those Safety First door things on.  They make the doors really hard to open, you have to squeeze the plastic thingy to turn the nob.  She CAN NOT work that thing!  So I figure Joey must not have pulled the door all the way closed when he left for school.

I run outside (still in my pajamas by the way) and I’m calling and calling her and she’s nowhere to be seen.  Some guys working on the house across the street say “we didn’t see her, she isn’t out here” so I run back in the house and search it from top to bottom.  In my gut I KNOW she’s outside but I dutifully search every nook and cranny and cupboard.  Then I am really panicked so I throw on a sweatshirt and some shoes and fly out the door.

I go down the street where she and her brother sometimes ride their bikes and she’s not down there.  I turn around to look up the street toward the main road that leads to our subdivision and my heart drops.  There’s a police car up the road at the fire station which borders the main road.  I swear I lost 10 years off of my life walking up that road.  I just KNEW she’d been hit by a car up there and I am cussing myself like crazy for not being more diligent, not making her watch cartoons in the bedroom with me, not hearing the door open, etc…

Thankfully when I was about 50 feet away they heard me frantically calling her name and the policeman and another man came to me and I say “do you happen to have a 3 year old little girl up here??!!”  the policeman says “yes and she likes candy!”.

I can not even tell you the emotions at that moment.  Fear, relief, self loathing, you name it I felt it.  Thankfully two passers by happened to see her at the fire station and stopped with her.  They took her in to the fire station and called the police.

I am a crying, shaking, blubbering mess when we get in to the fire station and I go running to Elizabeth and scoop her up in what I’m sure was a choke-hold/hug.  I say “Elizabeth you scared me to death!”.  About that time they all look at me funny and I’m like “what?”.  Then one gentleman says “what’s her name again?”  I say “Elizabeth”.  He says “huh, she was saying something like Missy”.  DUH!  I say “did she happen to say Sissy?”  He says “Yep, that’s it!”  I say that’s her nickname.  (Note to self we have GOT to start calling her Elizabeth or she’s going to kindergarten as “Sissy”).

So, the policeman then gets my vital information and says “how did she get out?”  I sheepishly tell him what happened and that we have taken precautions to keep her safely in the house.  He then says “do you have a sick baby at home?”  I’m just dumbfounded.  I say “Um, no sir, SHE is our baby, the youngest we have, her brother is 10 and at school”  Then it dawns on me.  She’s been playing non-stop with her all better baby.  It’s a baby doll that comes with a doctor kit because she’s sick and they have to make her feel better.  I explain this to the policeman who looks at me like I’m completely off my rocker.  At this point I just burst out in hysterical laughter.

After considering that for a few minutes he finishes getting my information.  I get down on my hands and knees and kiss the feet of the two gentleman who stopped to whisk her to safety and thank them profusely, so they can be on their way.

The policeman asks if he can follow us back to our house and I of course say “sure”.

On the way back down the street I am giving Elizabeth a stern talking to about NOT EVER going outside without mommy and daddy.

By the time we get home I’ve stopped shaking and am starting to regain my composure.  The police man is not far behind us and comes in to speak with us.  He tells Elizabeth she CAN NOT go outside without mommy and daddy and MUST stay in our yard, etc… and all the while he’s kind of taking in the house and me.  He asks to see the safety thing on the door and I show him and I tell him that the funniest part of ALL of this is that we discovered the safety latches several years ago when Joey at almost exactly the same age did the EXACT same thing!!  The difference then was he took the dog with him and the neighbors called the animal control to get our address.  Also he was only outside for about 5 minutes and it was a big neighborhood with no really busy streets and lots of concerned neighbors who helped him get home safe.  Just to add to the irony, I was doing laundry that day too!!  The laundry room was in the basement and Joey was napping on the couch upstairs.  I literally turned my back for all of 5 minutes and he wanders out of the house!  <sigh>

So the policeman tells me they had the exact same thing happen yesterday and it’s “that time of year” and I thank him again and he leaves with another stern word to Elizabeth about staying in the house and yard.

After he left and I managed to calm down I had a few thoughts:

1. These kids are trying to kill me, seriously

2. While he was talking to Elizabeth in my living room I didn’t think about it but after he left it occurred to me he was looking at the pictures on our wall.  No doubt trying to make sure she really did live here.  Also, he was probably listening for the sound of our “sick baby”.  I just realized there’s a picture on my wall of my kids and my nieces and nephews, it’s quite possible he thinks I lied my ass off about the sick baby!  Hopefully not!

3. Laundry IS the devil!!

4. They took Elizabeth in to the fire station where she played with the kids who belong to the gentleman who found her and had candy.  She’s going to think the fire station is the best place in the world and I am going to literally have to sleep with one eye open.

Thankfully she really can not open the door by herself.  I had her try after I shut and locked it.  I always check that door when Joey leaves in the morning to make sure it’s shut tight for this very reason, apparently today was just my day to be a complete and utter failure!!

As soon as the policeman left I called my mom to tell her about all of this and while I’m on the phone with her Joey’s teacher’s cell phone comes up on the caller ID on the other line.  I put my mom on hold and click over…



Disneyland! April 10, 2010

UPDATE: You can view the photos here: Disneyland Pictures

I could NOT get them to upload to Facebook, I tried 10 times and finally gave up so I went with flickr.

PS/When did Yahoo acquire Flickr!?  It was way more user friendly before

We had such a good time in Anaheim!  We didn’t do so well at the hockey tournament, we won one of 4 games.  Apparently “b” bracket means something different in the Southwest than it does here.  It was so worth going though, ALL of the kids had a great time!!  We are still all recovering from the week, it’s amazing how exhausting a “vacation” can be!!

I could probably write 50 pages and not cover everything so I’ll just give you the highlights  🙂

Elizabeth got to meet Tinkerbell which was her main reason for making the trip!  She saw her twice, got pictures taken with her and got her autograph.  The first day Fawn and Terrence were also there.  The second time she met Silvermist.  She was SO excited she didn’t even mind standing in line for 45 minutes both times!!

She also got to meet several of the Disney Princesses.  If we had it to do again I’d spring for the lunch with the Princesses.  Some moms at our hotel were telling us about it and apparently we missed out on that one!  She met Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, and Princess Jasmine at the royal Princess walk.  Sleeping Beauty is one of her favorite movies so she was definitely NOT disappointed!!  Before we left for the trip she was talking about how she was going to give Tinkerbell and the Princesses big hugs and I thought “yeah right”.  Most kids her age are a little shy and overwhelmed in situations like that.  Joey definitely would have been at her age!  She was NOT, not at ALL shy!!  She walked right up to each character she met, hugged them and presented her autograph book like they’d been friends for years!!

She HATED most of the rides, even the ones for her age.  She didn’t like anything dark and loud which meant she cried through both the Alice and Wonderland and Finding Nemo rides.  We stood in line for 2 hours to ride the Finding Nemo sub so that was really disappointing!  She LOVED the Teacup ride and Autopia.  She rode the Teacups twice.  I “think” she liked It’s a Small World as well but she was REALLY quiet the whole ride.  We can’t decide if she didn’t care for it or if she was just overwhelmed with all that was going on in there.

I think her favorite parts of the adventure (aside from meeting the characters she met) were the Monorail, the buses and trams to the park, and the fireworks show.  She LOVED the fireworks show, she was just spellbound the whole time!  She also loved all of the little shops and thought she needed one of everything she found!  She’s definitely her dad’s daughter in the shopping department!  I HATE to shop, she and Joe LOVE IT!

I did have a good time getting my face painted with her and helping her choose a dress from the Princess boutique.  She was really, really blown away with those dresses, it was a really tough choice for her, they were all so intricate and realistic.  She finally settled on the Snow White dress which was good because it’s one she doesn’t have the Toys R Us version of at home.

The weather was decent while we were there it wasn’t overly warm but compared to the Spring storm they had here, we couldn’t complain!  The kids got to swim at the hotel all but like one or two evenings which we couldn’t have done here this time of year!  The last two days we were there were the nicest weather wise.

Joey had an absolute BLAST and discovered a love of roller coasters!  He wasn’t as in to the characters although he did pose with a few, he refused to pose with the princesses.  He was however very excited when Snow White called him “handsome” and couldn’t stop talking about how “hot” the Princesses and Tinkerbell were.  *Note to self, teach him to not objectify women now that he’s really getting to that age!*

He LOVED Tomorrowland and would have gladly spent the whole trip there!  Not surprising given it’s all space themed and they have a huge Star Wars section.  He got to build his own Lightsaber and watch the Jedi Training camp.  He was disappointed he wasn’t chosen to train with the Jedi but he really enjoyed watching it.  His favorite ride was a roller coaster we rode one evening.  It was QUITE a ride let me tell you!!  I can’t remember the name of it but it’s a train ride through an old mining mountain and it was awesome!!  We rode it in the dark which I think made it all the more exciting!!

His allergies really bothered him the whole time we were there.  The smog is horrible, especially when you come from Wyoming!  When I was his age and we went to Disneyland I was sick the WHOLE time so I know just how miserable it was for him!

He really loved the World of Disney store, they have just a bit of everything.  He found a book about Disney’s Dogs through the ages and he really enjoys that!  He’s so my son!  Go to Disney and pick out a book about animals!!

Pluto is his favorite character and he got to “meet” him the last day we were there so that was awesome!

Unfortunately Joey and I’s fun was cut a bit short on Sunday, we planned to ride the three remaining rides on our list and had saved the “best for last” only to be caught in an EARTHQUAKE!!  After and earthquake you can pretty much just write off the riding of anything else at Disneyland, they have to inspect EVERY ride in the park.  They start with the smaller rides & the Monorail first so they can get the simple up so it took around 3 hours to get the bigger rides back up and we finally just gave up.    We were disappointed to say the least,  but overall we really had an excellent time.  One day we’ll have to go back and ride those last three rides!

He was really disappointed with the outcome of the hockey tournament.  That kind of put a damper on his fun.  He’s a year behind the other kids hockey wise since we had to take a year off for the death’s in our family, and he felt like he was not the “best player out there” and didn’t “add anything to the team”.  That really broke my heart.  He LOVES hockey and puts so much time and energy in to it.  It was very disconcerting to hear him beat himself up like that.  His dad and I did our best to reassure him but he’s 10 and I’m not sure how much he took our reassurances to heart.

I think Joey’s favorite part of the trip was the Lego store at Downtown Disney.  For a kid like him that was the ULTIMATE experience!!  He REALLY wants the Lego Star Wars Death Star and has wanted it for about a year now, but it’s $399 so we just haven’t spent the money on it.  The second he walked in to the store he saw that Death Star and it was PUT TOGETHER!!  He was SO excited!!  Of course that led right back to “please, please, please, I’ll never ask for anything EVER again and it’s ONLY $399”.  <sigh>  We told him we just couldn’t swing it and he’d have to pick something smaller and less costly.  First of all, we couldn’t fit the thing in the suitcases to get home and second of all it is just SO expensive!!  He eventually settled on some “Limited Edition” (his words I swear) Lego Star Wars guys who sit on magnetic bases.  We were actually surprised by his choice because there was a HUGE Lego Star Wars section and they had several of the sets he didn’t have but he settled on the little guys.  I think he’s saving up our good graces for Christmas and the Death Star!

He now says he thinks he would like to work at a Lego store as the person who puts together the HUGE models.  He posed with all of them for pictures and was really just blown away by them.  I can’t imagine what it takes to put together a life-size Darth Vader or better yet a 100 foot tall Giraffe!!  It was really something!

I think that’s it, there’s probably a LOT more but those are the highlights.  Joe and I had a great time, it’s a truly magical experience.  I know that’s very cliché but it’s so true!  The light in my kids’ eyes will sustain me for YEARS to come!!!  It’s pure unadulterated joy in its most primitive form and you just can’t help but be swept up in it right along with your kids!

Oh and I almost forgot we went to the Anaheim Ducks vs. Canucks game on Friday night and the kids had a blast there too!!  They LOVE professional hockey games but this one was really awesome because it went in to OT and a shootout and we’ve never gotten to see one of those live before!!  It was really something!!  The “Pond” in Anaheim is really something to experience as well.  It’s about twice the size of the “Pepsi Center” in Denver and I thought that was a big place!  There were I think as many or more Canuck fans in the audience as there were Duck fans.  They were certainly louder!  Especially after the game when the Canucks pulled out the win in the shootout!  I think Elizabeth is probably one of the only Non-Canadian 3 year olds in the world who LOVES hockey games!  She will sit through the entire game and that’s A LOT to ask of any kid, let alone a 3 year old!

I’ll edit the post with pictures in a few.  There are WAY too many to upload on here so I’m uploading them to Facebook and then I’ll link to them on here!


I Fail April 8, 2010

So we went to Anaheim last week for a hockey tournament and spent several days at Disneyland.  We had a lot of fun and I’ll post pictures and all that good stuff later but first I had to post this…

My mom and I were talking when we got back about the number of security personnel at the park.  There are literally hundreds you see and probably as many more you don’t see.  They have people at the front gates who check your carry in bags for weapons, etc… and then you go through another screening with your ticket.  Then you get in the park and you see uniformed security, some with dogs for bomb and drug sniffing and the like.  Then you figure there are probably a ton of plain clothes security scattered throughout so really there are just an insane amount of them who are looking for the obvious and there to maintain order.

I got to thinking about child predators which of course most mothers would do.  I am thinking Disney parks are probably a virtual Wonderland for them and let’s face it, all the security in the world can’t protect every child in those parks from an unseen threat.  Then I got to thinking about the ears…

Most every kid who goes to a Disney park inevitably ends up with a set of their very own ears.  It’s a rite of passage and I didn’t see a single non-eared head in the park the entire 4 days we spent there, including my own kids.  The best part of buying ears is when you go to the ear store there is a monogramming booth, you get your name or some version thereof monogrammed on your ears (or hat if you prefer as Elizabeth does).  I saw plain ears/hats with just a first name on them and then I saw more intricate monogramming such as “Happy First Birthday Jayden 2010” and many more.  You get the picture.

Everywhere you go in the park the “cast members” will see the hats/ears and call your kids by their names.  The kids love that; “how does Tinkerbell know my name?!”  After we got home and my mom and I were conversing, it made me think of a pamphlet Joey brings home from school the first day every single year.

In the pamphlet it STRONGLY discourages placing any identifying information about your child in public view.  For instance it suggests you NOT purchase those oh so nifty monogrammed backpacks.  Sure it might help you find your kid’s bag if he misplaces it, but it also gives a child predator all of the information he needs to victimize your child.  It suggests only using the inner tags of coats, bags, lunchboxes, etc… to identify it as belonging to your child.  That way some schmuck can’t come up to your child in the schoolyard and say “Oh Joey your mom sent me to pick you up”.

I realized Disney’s monogrammed ears and hats are probably INCREDIBLY dangerous.  Especially if you have a 3 year old like mine who tends to like to wander and speak to people she meets along the way.  She’s from Wyoming and while we definitely have had instances of child predation, they are few here (knock on wood) and there really aren’t many true “strangers” in a town this size.

Then I realized how sad this all really is.  It’s DISNEY!  When we were young our parents never had to think twice about these things, but in this day and age my daughter’s monogrammed Tinker Bell hat that should be a forever reminder of her experience at the “most magical place on Earth” really could have been one of the worst decisions I ever made.  I have literally had nightmares about it for two days.  I keep seeing those scenes from the movies or “Without a Trace” where the parent looks away for a second in a crowd and turns back around to find their child has disappeared.

I’m probably totally over-reacting but it truly scared the crap out of me when I thought about it so I had to tell you about it.

PS/ Why can’t Disney parks institute some kind of system like Chuckie Cheese has?  When you go to Chuckie Cheese you get an invisible stamp (you can only see it under a black light) that matches your child’s stamp.  You can’t leave the restaurant with a child who doesn’t have the same stamp as you.  I’m sure it’s not fool proof as they probably only have so many stamps and a really industrious predator could probably find a child with a matching stamp, but it really does lessen the odds of your child being victimized.  Disney stamps your hand when you leave the park for the day in case you want to return.  Surely they could stamp your hands upon entry…


My Son is Different March 21, 2010

Filed under: ADHD,Kids,Life — Steph @ 10:23 am
Tags: , , ,

I have been debating writing this post for a while.  A part of me feels it’s not my story to tell and another part of me wants to protect my son.  Janice over at 5 Minutes For Mom gave me the courage to finally post it.  She shared her son’s story in hopes it will help others.  I can’t argue with that logic and maybe our story will also help someone, so here goes…

For years my son has been getting in to trouble at school.  For years I’ve been wondering “does he need help?” and “does he have ADHD?”  From as early as I can remember my mom and I wondered at whether or not he might have ADHD.  Once he started kindergarten I started to wonder aloud to other people; his teacher, the school social worker, etc…  I was told he was different but that he didn’t have ADHD, he was “gifted” and “gifted” kids present a challenge all their own and often their behavior is similar to kids with ADHD.  I clung to that as if my life depended on it.  I didn’t want my son labeled at all but somehow being labeled as “gifted” didn’t seem as bad as being labeled with “ADHD” something that I knew would follow him forever.  Not that the “gifted” label wouldn’t but it’s so different.

For the next several years I would continue to wonder to myself and I would continue to deny, deny, deny.  When I look back I am ashamed.  I feel this is my biggest failure as a mother so far.  Living in denial cost him several years, years I can’t give back no matter how much I want to now.

The teachers would call, sometimes daily.  “Please help us, he won’t sit still, he talks incessantly, he is so unfocused on his tasks, it’s like pulling teeth to get him to sit still and behave once he finishes an assignment”  I would communicate this to Joe and wonder “what are we supposed to do to control his behavior in school??”  The social worker and teachers would continue to tell me he was simply “gifted”.  Gifted kids get bored.  They finish their assignments before the other kids and then they are bored.  The only way to control that behavior is to constantly keep them busy with one task or another.  From kindergarten to third grade he would have but two teachers who managed to “keep him busy”.  They would give him extra worksheets, errands, etc…  He would struggle socially.  He was disruptive, he talked too much, the teachers would be pulling their hair out, the other kids would see this.  At some point it stigmatizes your child in so far as his peers are concerned.  If the teacher can’t get along with him, why should they?

Then the house burned down and our entire lives were turned upside down.  He struggled even more.  We moved to a neighborhood out of his school zone.  There were few children his age.  He had few friends in that time span.  We kept him in the same school, I drove him across town every day.  We didn’t want to add to the already traumatic experiences he was dealing with by moving him schools mid-year.  His third grade teacher loved him.  She struggled with him but she loved him.  She supported him more than I can even begin to tell you here.  It would literally take all day.  So I will leave it at that.

Finally fourth grade comes and we’ve settled (or so we thought) and we decide it’s time to move him to the closer school.  It turns out half of his hockey team goes to this school, two of his closest friends from hockey are actually IN his class!  For the first time I had a lot of hope for him.  He would finally fit in, be accepted, he could start over fresh.  No one had to know he’d struggled all of these years.  We focused on the positive with him.  We told him this was his chance to “start over” to behave differently, to erase all of the bad behavior that followed him from year to year at the other school.  To not be the “class clown”.

We were naive.  I was naive.  Day one he picks up a bully.  A kid from my mom’s neighborhood he’d had trouble with previously.  Who starts a new school with a bully?  Only my son!  The school counselor and I work together to help him with the bully situation which became dangerous very quickly.  She was/is wonderful.  She would spend untold hours with my son for the next several months.  Helping him to deal with the fire and his feelings of loss and upheaval.  Still, he would struggle.  It was about 3 weeks in to the school year when the calls from the teacher started.  I was disappointed and lost.  What could I do to help him??  I explained to her and the counselor the years of struggle with him.  The “diagnosis” of “gifted”.  Finally the call I’d been dreading for years would come.  “Have you ever considered testing him for ADHD?”.  To my surprise I was not resistant.  I think I knew, despite my years of denial, I knew and here they were offering to help us!  So we began the standard testing done in schools and at home.

Finally the counselor called me to go over the results.  He was off the charts in almost every area.  The testing is based on a scale of 100 kids.  In 4 areas he would rate 97 or higher.  That means only 3 kids struggled as much as mine.  I was crushed and yet relieved at the same time.  Finally we could begin to understand what it was like to be him!  How difficult must it be to live in his world??  The counselor however would suggest we not take these tests at face value.  We should not ignore them, but we should be very sure the diagnosis was correct.  For the next 4 weeks we’d participate in a “double blind study”.  With the supervision of his pediatrician and a pharmacist we would “test him”.  We would have two weeks of placebo medication and two weeks of ADHD medication one low dose and one high.  The only person to know which med we had would be the pharmacist.  We would chart his behavior each week and at the end we’d see where we were.

I would begin to have discussions with him about the medication, about what it would do for him if we were right, about how it could help him to focus, to be able to concentrate on those timed tests he struggled with for so long, etc…

The first two weeks we noticed no change.  I started to think we were wrong, or that I’d been right all along in resisting this idea.  Then the third week came and the difference was night and day.  I literally can’t explain it.  He breezed through his homework, even the timed test practices he struggled with, he’d finish them with time to spare.  He was more focused at hockey practice.  Less combative at home, less likely to flit from one activity to another.  On and on it went.  I KNEW at that point.  It was a med week, I assumed a high dose med week to have changed his behavior so drastically.  Week four came, it was similar to week three but the change was not as drastic.  He struggled a bit.  I was sure it was a med week, but I was also sure it was a low dose week.  The final week would be the week before Christmas vacation.  It seemed unfair to me for us to be testing him this week.  No kids can focus that week!  Visions of sugar plums are already dancing by then.  I was concerned the test would be inaccurate.  We would have to wait until after Christmas break to get the results.  It was a LONG two weeks, all of us wondering what we’d find out.

Just to add to the drama (because we don’t do anything drama free around here) we found out on the 30th we were able to buy the house we’d been coveting, we would however have to close before the end of the year and move over New Year’s weekend.  That same weekend we had a home hockey tournament I was the tournament director of.  We never do anything half assed ya’ll.  To add to all of that we made the very difficult decision to put our oldest dog down, she had crippling arthritis, she could barely stand up.  Another move was just out of the question for her.  Joey would take that EXTREMELY hard.  I had no idea how hard it would hit him.  We’ve only had her for a little over 2 years.  She was my grandpa’s dog, I inherited her when he died.  She was one of two dogs to survive the fire and I think that would factor in to his heartbreak.  I think it felt like we were taking away one of his only remaining constants.  Had we known we still would have had to make the decision we made, but we might have done it a little differently.  Then on January 1st his great grandmother died.  It was like two fists in his gut at once.  We wouldn’t know for a few days how hard he was taking it though, he hid it well.  The day he started back to school he made an appointment with the counselor, that’s how I found out how hard he was taking all of the upheavel.  After a year and a half of constant change and loss he just broke.  I should have seen it coming.  We all should have…  It broke me LONG before it broke him.  We were so oblivious.  The final straw for him was a phone call from the school on his first day back.  He’d have to change schools AGAIN.  He was in another school area and the school he was in was already over capacity.  He would have to move, there was no way around it.

We again focused on the positive, or tried very hard to.  We promised to call the counselor and the pediatrician and get the results of the study.  He may have to switch schools but by golly he’d be doing it with the tools he needed if he needed them.

Not surprisingly he did.  I was right about the meds but I was wrong about the dosage.  The best week was actually a low dose week.  He could take low dose meds and they would make all the difference for him.  We started him right away.  He’s now on a low dose of Concerta.  To say the difference is dramatic would not even begin to adequately express the difference.  He likes to say the “buzzing has stopped” referring to the constant hum of activity that went on in his brain before the meds.

He would have several bad days before he started his meds and I am not sure he wouldn’t have had the bad days no matter what.  Two days I really, really worried about him.  He cried all day, I even kept him home from school those days, he just couldn’t stop crying.  It was all too much.

It’s been 2 months (wow the time just flies).  He’s made good friends in the new school.  There has not been one single call from the teacher.  He goes to a support group to deal with his losses and he takes his meds every day.  At 10 he’s old enough and smart enough to articulate the differences in himself.  He is still “gifted”.  He still finishes his work before everyone else in class.  The difference now is when he’s done he will sit quietly and read a book rather than distracting the whole class.

He is a different kid.  Still full of spunk and still Joey, he would still swear the sky is NOT blue if I said it was.  But the “buzzing” has stopped.  That is music to my ears and I will never forgive myself for not helping him quiet that buzzing sooner.


Things I Learned This Week March 20, 2010

Filed under: Family,Kids,Life,Other Stuff — Steph @ 8:57 am

1. No matter how old I get my son will apparently always know more than me.  If you don’t believe me, just ask him!

2. My house is not self cleaning.  There are no such things as little elves who show up in the middle of the night and do your work for you.

3. If I don’t wash the laundry, fold it, and put it away; I will end up re-washing it, folding it, and putting it away

4. 10 year olds are physically incapable of cleaning up after themselves

5. If I don’t replace the toilet paper, no one will

6. No matter how many laundry hampers I set out the dirty clothes will still end up on the floor, generally they’ll be on the floor NEXT to the laundry hampers

7. Raccoons have penis bones that are bigger than bears!  That explains the bear/raccoon hybrids I keep seeing.

8. Humans are the only mammals that don’t have penis bones.

9. White dogs are cute when they’re puppies but they won’t stay white, they will actually require multiple baths a week to stay white.  Give up on it, embrace the dinge!

10. I am not the only woman who doesn’t shave her legs in the Winter.  We need that extra layer for warmth ya’ll

11. If you wake up with a headache radiating down your neck your kids will choose that day to be as loud as is possible

12. Your son and husband have good intentions but that X-Box and the latest NHL game are just too irresistible, you will end up doing their chores for them too