Wednesday, April 8, 2009

it's really hard to understand....

....unless you live in our house for a few days, how tough the day-to-day existence can be with little Energizer Bunny. We had the pleasure recently of hosting my Mom (Nana) at our house for a whole two weeks; she just left on Monday to go back home. The kids loved seeing her, and we greatly appreciated the babysitting/dinner cooking/picking up from school help which we desperately needed, but I think her visit had an additional side effect too. She got to see, up close and personal, what severe ADHD with impulse control and aggression issues looks and feels like.

I've thought that, on occasion, she didn't understand or didn't take me seriously when I would complain about our struggles with his behavior. Maybe she didn't understand why we chose to put a 4 year old on meds. She never said so, not to me anyway, but I bet she questioned it. Hell, I questioned it, and still do once in a while, but then days like last Friday come along and I know that we'd all be "committed" by now if not for the blessed Focalin.

I try so hard to explain this to people, but it's hard to grasp until you see it---Energizer has these "manic" periods, that's the only way I know to describe it. He won't/can't sit still at all, everything's running, jumping, climbing, and laughing. It's the laughing that pushes my buttons. I know it shouldn't, but the teacher in me gets riled up every time I see a 5 year old who isn't listening, won't stop what he's doing, and laughs and smirks at your every attempt at "discipline". It's almost like he's temporarily possessed or something....anyone know an exorcist? I'm kidding of course, but I use the word possessed because during those periods, it's like you're not seeing the real him. The real him comes a few minutes later, after the ______________ (time out, occasional spanking, removal of toys or privileges etc) has managed to get him upset enough to snap out of the manic state and become sad and remorseful. And it's not fake, I'm sure of that. He's truly sorry, truly sad and is just so darn pitiful when he's crying and hugging me....."Mom, I'm so so so sorry" etc etc etc.

Sometimes I just hold him and cry right along with him, because I'm at such a loss to know what I could do any differently. How much of this is has a diagnosable cause, and how much is failure in parenting? How much is due to the #*@& preeclampsia, which caused his little body to miss out on 3 months of typical fetal development, and how much is just plain old spunky 5 year old boy attitude that needs to be taken down a peg and taught right from wrong?

So, a couple of months ago I ordered a book on tape that I'd seen rave reviews about online. It was recommended highly by a blogger that I trust (although for the life of me I can't find that post now, so sorry I can't put a link here), and it's called "Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach" , by Howard Glasser. As soon as it arrived, I put it into the van's tape player (yeah, yeah, I know, it's the 21st century already, but my van hasn't caught up yet) and began listening to it on my commute to and from school. After a few listening sessions, I got sidetracked, got busy, decided to completely change my life path........and stopped listening. But I pulled the tape back out yesterday and started it over. I'd never finished it the first time, but am determined to do so now.

But you know what? I've spent tons of money on books on tape and books made out of trees over the last few years, and more often than not, I read it, think it's great and has good ideas I can use etc.......and then do next to nothing with it in reality. Life gets in the way. I'm busy, the dirty laundry pile is taller than I am, the cat just threw up on the carpet, I need 25 cupcakes for Mr. L's class tomorrow, I have 2 rehearsals tonight, etc.......when does that leave time to completely transform the way I interact with my child? Glasser's ideas make sense, I feel sure the idea works for a lot of kids, but it's so opposite of everything most parents do and most of how we were raised ourselves.

Speaking of life in the way....I'm at school now--last day before Spring Break, hallelujah--and I've gotta get some things done before a class comes in very soon. Continued thoughts about Glasser's approach in my next post, so stay tuned! :)


Amy said...

I can't even imagine what you must go through on a daily basis. (((hugs))) I hope that you are able to get some rest/relaxation during your spring break.

laughingatchaos said...

My parents are familiar with the whole ADHD thing, since my brother went through it. It's Tom's family that took forever to figure it out. They can definitely see the difference when A is on vs. off the Focalin, but the distance and rarity that they see the boys...
I know those "manic" moods. A gets them from time to time when the meds wear off, or he's totally out of sync. Like he's glassy-eyed, and I'm trying to talk through a mirrored door to get through to him. It's so hard.
Looking forward to more review of that book!