As we struggle with the decision to medicate or not to medicate, I read way more than I probably should. At home, we can deal with Max’s curiosity and constant motion – in fact, we’ve come to find it an endearing (yet sometimes trying) part of his personality. At school, I completely understand how this can be a distraction to the rest of the class and a source of frustration to a teacher trying to herd kittens. For the past 2 years teachers have mentioned “retaining” him. He’s a SUPER bright kid (and I’m not just saying that because he’s mine!). I’m terrified that if we hold him back he’s going to feel defeated, lose confidence, and be incredibly bored (increasing distracted behavior). Again today I called his doctor to discuss possible options to help get him through the remainder of the school year. “Are you having him drink coffee every day?” Yes. “Are you still using the Rhodiola?” Well, we sorta didn’t notice a difference and gave that up. “Does he sit on a ball or a chair? Can they give him a desk he STANDS at?”
Bottom line, neither his doctor nor his Dad or I WANT to see him medicated for a myriad of reasons. For me, the primary reason is that I’m a total kook who Googles the hell out of everything. Like many of you (I suspect), I Google until I find the answer I’m looking for, then I feel a little better. With ADHD medication, that answer is elusive. I want to read that he can take meds only on school days, magically pay attention and not make his teacher insane, not be a zombie child, not become addicted, and not get the suicidal side effects. Is that so much to ask? Every year we go through this (I go into extreme panic mode) around this time.
I’ve talked to teachers, therapists, doctors, parents who medicate, parents who don’t, family members, friends, and perfect strangers. I don’t judge parents who are medicating their kids legitimately – I completely get it, and I don’t envy the nights they stayed awake trying to figure out what to do. We all want to do what’s best for our kids. We know we’re going to eff them up somehow straight out of the gate, it’s inevitable; but we definitely try to do the least fucky thing possible.
I’m off to email the teacher, schedule ANOTHER meeting, maybe get a ball and a stand up desk. And some wine. For me, not him.
For my childless friends and anyone else wondering, “Should I have children?” Or perhaps for those of you questioning, “Why the hell would ANYONE have children?!” I offer you this explanation:
Last night while trying to herd my 10-year-old son to bed, I had some revelations. In the abyss of my sub conscience, somewhere along the way, I had to have thought, “Self, You MUST have children so you can become an intolerable nag and ask the same questions repeatedly with negative results for 18 years. That would be the tits.” The hilarious part is, somehow I sold my children’s father on this idea, too! Hahahahahaha, SUCKER! I’ve truly missed my calling – I should be in marketing.
As I told my dear sweet flighty boy for the 87 thousandth time, “Go brush your teeth!” I thought, “What the hell is WRONG with you, woman? How many times have you said this over the course of 15 years (10 for him, 15 for his sister)? God invented dentists so mothers around the world could stop sounding like oral hygiene-obsessive-bitches. Why fight with kids daily when you can go once every six months and pay hundreds of dollars to avoid the argument? It totally seems like a good trade. When the first tooth rots out of their heads, they’ll learn.” Then I remembered the parent-shaming happening in dental offices across the globe. “Is Johnny brushing his teeth? Three times a day? Flossing? No juices or soda? Milk consumption at a minimum? Do you have village water? Are you using fluoride supplements? You should really consider sealants.” Oh hell…”MAX, GO BRUSH YOUR GODDAMNED TEETH!”
He flits upstairs, singing and humming, oblivious (or immune) to my insanity. He emerges from the bathroom ten minutes later, still clad in only underwear. “Where are your pajamas?” (Eye roll and turn on heel to retrieve pajamas), “Did you brush your teeth? Let me smell. No you didn’t! What have you been DOING up there all this time?!”
“Well…I had to POOP!”
He sings while he poops? Wait, “Did you flush? I didn’t hear a flush. Did you wash your hands? Let me smell. NO YOU DIDN’T! Get back upstairs! Flush, wash your hands, brush your teeth, and put on your pajamas…IN THAT ORDER! Don’t brush your teeth or touch your clean pajamas with your poopy hands!”
Five minutes later, the boy emerges looking like a finishing school graduate: Toilet flushed? CHECK! Hands washed (and smelled for verification)? CHECK! Teeth brushed (and smelled for verification)? CHECK! Plaid pajamas on? CHECK! BONUS: He wet and combed his hair.
Why? Why must I lose my ever loving mind before this happens? Why doesn’t this happen the first trip up? The first time I ask? So we can do something fun like…go to bed earlier! Or play Apples to Apples, or read a book? Why does he make me feel like insane-crazy-psycho-losing-her-shit-Mommy? I can’t remember signing up for this. Then he grabs my face in his hands, kisses my cheek, and asks, “Mommy, can you snuggle me just a few minutes so I can fall asleep? You’re always nice and warm and I’m freezing.” We lie in bed and he tells me a story about something he learned at school, a new move he perfected in hockey, or how he wants to be a great inventor when he grows up. And there it is. I remember. I remember the exact moment I decided stark-raving-lunatic would work for me; and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Viewers in TEN countries? Whaaaaat?! I was excited just to have ten PEOPLE look at this. Thank you, U.S., Canada, Russia, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Ireland!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.
Thought I’d stop by the mall on my lunch hour to pick up a couple small things and kind of pre-game for the big event tomorrow. There were so many people, my heart started pounding, I got real dizzy, my skin started crawling, and I couldn’t even remember what holiday it is (thanks in part to the Valentine candy displays).
I decided to visit the mall manager and try to convince her I’m a celebrity and that perhaps tomorrow she should close the mall to the public – you know, just for a few hours, sort of a private shopping experience so the paparazzi won’t be heckling me. No lines, no waiting, no fighting for the last item with a cranky-ass-last-minute-shopping-cohort, and no nostalgic time-eating visits with people I haven’t seen in years (it’s scientifically proven you’ll run into at LEAST 5 such people whenever you’re in a hurry – well, maybe not scientific, but it’s a friggin’ fact!).
She threatened to call security. In an effort to be taken very seriously, I smacked a $20 on her desk. Did you know mall security carry handcuffs? Neither did I. Merry Christmas to YOU, officer. Hey, can we just stop by to grab lotto tickets for everyone on my list on the way out of here? What? No?! Are you kidding me right now?!
In lieu of bail money, please send presents to my kids signed “Love, Santa”.
I’ve read a number of articles and conversation threads over the past week regarding U.S. acceptance (or rejection) of Syrian refugees. The topic seems to be dividing my Friends List and our country. I completely understand that, as it’s taken me a week to sort my own feelings – which still aren’t entirely fixed. What should be a straightforward no-brainer has become conflict between moral ideologies, personal fears, and religious beliefs. I am sick and tired of seeing threads and memes about Mary and Joseph looking for refuge and being turned away; about how un-Christian it is to turn people away and deny them safety. Let’s remove religion, shall we? Religious perversions are what have us in this mess. You can have your beliefs and I can have mine, but let’s set them aside and look at this from a purely humanitarian standpoint, shall we?
We waited too long during WWII to help 6,000,000 Jews (and an additional 6,000,000 people Hitler deemed “rejects”). I’ve read countless books, watched innumerable documentaries, and viewed a handful of movies on the topic. I don’t want MY children to be reading/watching the same about Syria in 50 years asking, “Why didn’t we help sooner?”, “Why did we allow those children to be separated from their parents?”, “Why did so many people just stand by and watch innocent people die?”
Our perception of the world has greatly changed since 9/11. I understand this and fault no one for having fears which perhaps weren’t there before. The uncertainties have merit, however, it’s important to remember if we let our fears consume us we’re heading to war with ourselves and terrorists win. Instead of being afraid, let’s be smart, make wiser more educated decisions. Get informed, do your homework.
All of the sudden, people who were seemingly aloof to hunger and homelessness in America are wondering why we’d help others before helping ourselves. Good question. But then again, I don’t see too many rushing out to put their money where their mouths are on this one either. The commissioner of the NFL reportedly makes $44 MILLION dollars per year – is FOOTBALL more important to us than who is living on the street in need of food, clothing, and mental health care? Sidebar: why the hell is the NFL League Office tax exempt? The commissioner is just an example – look at any major league sports player and tell me that salary is justified. Survey the income of many CEOs and tell me they’re comprehensible. Congress? Shall we?
“We don’t have enough jobs for the people currently in our country!” Really? Have you TRIED to hire a kid to shovel your walk, mow your lawn, or babysit your kid recently? HA! Don’t even mention dairy farm hands or apple pickers.
In my opinion, should we help Syrian refugees (or any human in imminent danger)? YES. Should we just open the gates and thoughtlessly allow everyone in? NO. There is a term: vetting, known commonly in the workplace as the process of conducting extensive background/character checks. It seems obvious to me that anyone taking in refugees should have an all-encompassing vetting process. Clearly, since 9/11, we can no longer use the Ellis Island approach to accepting immigrants. National safety is no longer a simple matter of ensuring a new comer is healthy and able-bodied.
Am I afraid? YES I AM. I am afraid for the safety of my children, I am afraid of terrorists, I am afraid of murderers and rapists. I am afraid of heights and spiders. I am afraid of getting stung by a bee (allergy). I am afraid child molesters live in my neighborhood. I am afraid my house may catch fire. I am afraid a psychopath may go to my children’s school and shoot up the place. Some days I’m afraid of my children! Does all of this keep me in my house and prevent me from living a full, happy life where I help others if/when I can? Hell no. We are never completely safe. No amount of seat belts, fire alarms, school security systems, weapons laws, sex offender registries, or immigration laws are going to keep us in utopia. Keep your heart closed, but please don’t do it without being educated. Do the homework, then argue your point. I welcome open discussions, thoughts and opinions of others. I don’t have to agree to understand your point; nor do you need to agree with me to hold a civil discussion. We must take the time, patience, and care with each other to understand. Closing each other out will only perpetuate ignorance. We’re all in this short life together. I’d like to think if roles were reversed and my kids and I were in this situation, someone would be there to realize we deserve better.
Freddie Mercury – fled East Africa during the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964
Sigmund Freud and his daughter, Anna – Austrian Jews who fled during WWII
Einstein – German who fled his country when Nazis came to power
Dalai Lama – Fled India in 1959 during the Tibetan uprising
Being a parent is hands down THE coolest privilege I’ve ever had. It’s also the one raising Miss Clairol’s stock at an alarming rate. What’s Amy’s First World problem THIS week, you ask? Confirmation classes. As I recall, my Grandma was dragging kids kicking and screaming to Confirmation class. Not MY kids…mine are begging to go. I should be happy, right? Wrong.
Just home from a 10 hour work day (Monday, at that), stuffing unhealthy food into my face as I let the dogs out before heading to skating lessons (and the MANDATORY Parent Meeting), I receive a text from my daughter’s Dad. “Abbey wants to go to Confirmation class. It is 7pm Sundays. You okay with that?” I’m normally a pretty even keeled person. PLUS, I should be HAPPY my kid wants to do something wholesome, such as Confirmation. However, I lose my shit. I sit down, cursing and defeated, stuffing the last of the Nestles Toll House pie in my mouth, and fire off a helpless response: “Ugh! Hockey games, skating, social life, why the hell not?!” (At this point I’m sure he’s remembering –and thankful for – why we’re exes).
I’m not upset my daughter wants to get Confirmed. Well, that’s sort of a lie. Geez, maybe I should be the one getting Confirmed. Bureaucracy – that’s what I’m in a kerfuffle over. Can’t a person be spiritual and good without going to class? Does going to class (or church) make us better or more spiritual? Is it right that I’m going to have to commit my entire Sunday to church, hockey, and Confirmation class instead of board games and family? Is it Christian to not forgive ONE absence? To humiliate and guilt a kid and punish her by making her wait a year to make her Confirmation (I’m speaking from a friend’s experience here). Is it right my 14-year-old is afraid she’ll never be able to get married if she doesn’t do this right now?
We’re so tied up with school work, school functions, practices, games, sleep overs, birthday parties, and entertaining (movies, bowling, skydiving – kidding). When is enough enough? When do I get to move to my cabin in the middle of 500 acres and home school my kids and have a small farm? When do I get to teach them the IMPORTANT things in life like gardening, cooking, caring for animals and each other? When do we have time to saunter in the woods, identify birds by their calls, feel cool creek water running over our bare feet, observe chipmunks playing on a hollow log? When will I cook a meal at HOME, sit around the table, and not be slinging Happy Meals at 60mph? I want my daughter to skate…on a back woods pond under the moonlight by a bonfire. I want my son to play hockey…on a small mountain lake with all of his friends. I want my kids to feel like the good, kind hearted people they are…without a church having to tell them this is who they are. I want them to get married someday (if they’re feeling that crazy) without the burden and guilt associated with all the churchy red tape.
My Grandma and Pepere (and probably a great number of friends and relatives) will disagree; but I feel strongly that our closest connection to a Higher Being is found in nature, not in a stone cathedral. The teachings nearest and dearest to our hearts happen in everyday life through connections with our families, our elders, and our peers. I’m fearful life has become so over-run with “stuff” that we’re not taking time to pass on significantly important skills and values.
When did I lose the connection to church I was raised with? When did my belief in one Catholic God waver? What happened to “Little House on the Prairie” church? An entire town piling in on a Sunday morning to hear the preacher’s sermon, hanging around having pot-luck lunch together as the children played because they actually ENJOYED it? I feel as though church has lost its true meaning. Soon we’ll have drive-thru confessionals with an atoning wafer and a splash of holy water as you speed off to commit your next sin.
I digress, I do that a lot; it’s not ADHD, it’s the result of having 8 million thoughts in my head at any given time. Let’s promise to each other right now that we’ll slow down, take time to breathe, hug our loved ones (I haven’t seen my 90-year-old-Grandparents in MONTHS, and we live 10 miles apart!), walk in the woods, go fishing, and tell our children stories about how wonderful their hearts and souls are ❤