Sometimes you find amazing quotes in the oddest places:
(Courtesy of Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern)
I think I do a pretty good job of balancing the funny and the serious here on this blog. In fact, I try to write more about the good than the bad because I feel like people don’t want to read about downbeat things…because no one likes a Debbie Downer. No one. Don’t lie and say “yeah they do” because no one really likes a liar either.
Don’t be that guy.
So anyway…I don’t think I have ever really posted about my son outside of cute anecdotes. I was so hesitant for a long time about even writing about him at all…but I felt like when I eventually did after not doing it for like four years, it would be the Internet version of being that girl who hid being pregnant by wearing hoodies for nine months and then showed up with a ten year old. It would be like “whoa, where did that kid come from?” and this is a blog, not Maury. I was even on the fence about using his real name. One of my favorite blogs, Diary of a Mom, uses two pseudonyms for her daughters. I considered using the name Noah for him, but fuck it…it felt weird to use a different name for him, so Nick it is. If he gets embarrassed about me blogging about him, I’ll just tell him that all moms embarrass their kids and it builds character. I’m all about telling him that the things he doesn’t like build character. It’s my mom thing.
So Nick has ADHD. He was diagnosed with it at the end of third grade. I went to a therapist and we screened him and sure enough, he had it. It explained all the things about him that drove me crazy–easily distracted, forgetting things (his homework, stuff for school, things he was told to do), jumping from task to task without finishing, not being able to focus, not finishing classwork, not listening when he was being spoken to, daydreaming, not following instructions…talking nonstop, constantly moving (some part of him would always be moving, even if he was sitting down), fidgeting, impatience, showing his emotions without restraint, interrupting conversations, and being unable to wait for things. Apparently Nick was the textbook definition of a child with ADHD. In fact, he was so good at ADHD that he wasn’t the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive subtype or the predominately inattentive subtype–he was the combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive subtype. He was also diagnosed with an aggressive behavior disorder too, because why the hell not? It explained his crazy tantrums and temper.
My son is a brilliant, funny, and sweet child. But he has a hard time functioning with his severe ADHD. So I decided to try both the medication and therapy routes. I love his therapist, Bekah. She is an angel. He looks forward to meeting with her and he says he likes to talk to her. I am grateful for her. Our family physician at the time of diagnosis until this past July (the clinic we go to uses residents, so we have a doctor for three years at a time) was amazing. She truly cared about Nick and his situation. We put him on Adderall, starting at the 5 mg dosage and then working up to 10 mg.
Anyone who has a child on Adderall or who takes Adderall themselves knows that appetite loss is a huge side effect. Nick was functioning well on the 10 mg, but his appetite was non-existent. Due to weight loss and the fact that he is 10 and a half and can’t afford to lose weight since he is bound to have a growth spurt soon, we had to lower the dosage to 5 mg for the summer. And of course, we lost our amazing physician in July. (Thank you, Dr. Kolp–you were such a great doctor. I truly appreciate everything you did for us.) I decided that we needed a permanent physician with all the things going on with Nick. We have an appointment with her at the end of the month, which seemed like an okay thing but I think I have to try to get a hold of her much sooner than that.
Nick has anxiety, and it first really manifested in the beginning of June with his first visible panic attack. We were referred to a child psychologist for it, because ADHD has a way of bringing their friends into the mix–in our case, it’s the aggressive behavior disorder and the anxiety. We are on the waiting list to go in and see the child psychologist. He doesn’t do well with crowds and this summer was hard on him. He is still taking the 5 mg of Adderall, and school started two and a half weeks ago. It hasn’t been a good start to the school year…the 5 mg is like him being off the medication entirely, and he is acting out in ways that are making me upset.
He has been losing his temper much more than usual, and has taken to punctuating his tantrums with swearing. I know that kids swear. I did it, we all did it, but you don’t swear at your mother or your grandparents. He got in trouble in school yesterday for not paying attention and for not finishing his work, and got a written warning for it. Naturally he forgot it at school (he has also forgotten his homework twice since the school year started) and decided to not tell me about it…and proceeded to forge my signature pretty badly. He then lied to his teacher and principal and got a phone call home and a detention to serve next week after school. I’m very disappointed in him because he should know better, yet it’s hard to be completely mad at him because I know that a lot of it has to do with his medication. I didn’t tell his teacher about his ADHD because I assumed she knows about it since he has an IEP–I’m guessing that was a rookie mistake. I will be writing her a letter tonight explaining his situation to her.
The next few days with be filled with phone calls to the new doctor, his therapist, and trying to secure a higher dosage of his medication. He is currently grounded until further notice. I am starting to feel the way I did back in the days before he was diagnosed–stressed, with a constant headache and upset stomach. It’s very hard to watch your child and know that he wants to behave but he has a hard time trying to keep it together. It’s hard being the parent of a child with ADHD sometimes not because of your child, but because of the community around you. I hate when people tell me that ADHD isn’t real and Nick is just being a typical 10 year old boy. No…he definitely is not. I want to put these people in a room with him when he hasn’t taken his pills for days and then have them tell me that his behavior is normal. I constantly have “Facebook physicians” telling me that I shouldn’t medicate him because he doesn’t need medication. That’s like saying we shouldn’t vaccinate our children against dangerous and infectious diseases. Cutting sugar and washing our clothes in plant based detergent (which is very expensive, by the way) and embracing a crunchy granola mom lifestyle isn’t going to magically make my son better. My siblings all have it to a degree, and I think that I probably have a touch of it myself. The best thing that I can do is help him to learn strategies for certain things in his life that are difficult for him to control, and help him embrace his strengths and work on his weaknesses.
And, of course, love him. I don’t let his ADHD define him or let him use it as an excuse. I tell him that he just happens to have ADHD, but it makes him more awesome than he already is.
I hope I didn’t sound whiny or dull. I really just needed to vent after this long, frustrating day. Thanks…XO.