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Monday, January 27, 2014

ADHD Relief

*My experience after my son was diagnosed and treated for ADHD with Methylphenidate. This post is for those wanting to see personal experience of how Methyphenidate helps others.This was after a month of figuring out the dose of medication that would work best for him. Follow up post from child ADHD signs. Since this post I have also been on this medication with great results*

When I look outside I see my son playing with his siblings. Instead of being left out he is suddenly the one everyone wants to play with. They are having so much fun together, they have been playing over an hour and all I see are smiles. I think my kids enjoy their brothers creative and adventurous side, the side we love, the side that has not left after being diagnosed with ADHD and starting medication. I hate to pull them away from their fun but it is getting dark so I have to call in for them and they hurry inside. I tell them to put their coats and shoes away, my son's coat makes it but his shoes manage to stay in the middle of the floor. I know it sounds weird but I smile at how obvious it is that he is still a six year old boy.

I tell them that we need to do baths tonight and homework. I walk into the kitchen to get their homework supplies. They get started working while I get dinner ready. I walk past a pile of clothes and pick them up to put in the dirty clothes until I realize they are my sons clean pajamas. I go to the table and ask him “Did you get your pajamas?” he says a simple “Yes” not seeing what the big deal was. I realize I told them we were doing baths tonight and he just went to get his clean clothes without me even asking. This is one of those simple moments that I normally probably would have taken for granted but I am stunned, grateful, and a little pile of clean pajamas has made me feel like crying and laughing all at once. I tell him how great he was for going and getting his pajamas ready.

I set up a reward system for homework to keep my son motivated that for every three letter word he spells he can get a star sticker and after ten stars he will earn a candy. He is doing awesome and even putting in a few four letter words. When timer goes off signaling that ten minute homework time is over he wants to keep working on it so bad, he is enjoying it and so close to that ten stars. I don’t want to wear him out but he really wants to so I let him keep going. I love seeing him feel so accomplished. After bath time I get them all off to bed and while tucking him in I tell him how great he has been doing and that he is such a good boy. He smiles, so happy. I love seeing him happy.

The next day my girls come home from school and tell me about their day like usual but now my son joins in and tells me about all he did. He loves showing me his art projects, he loves to create things. I laugh when he tells me that school is boring and I explain that sometimes we have to do boring things that are good for us. I tell my kids the good news that it is the weekend and if everyone goes upstairs and cleans their rooms that we get to have a family game night. They all run upstairs and to my surprise my son comes downstairs first saying he is done. I am skeptical so I go upstairs to see for myself. Everything looks good, I smile at the toys stuffed too full in one drawer bulging out. I tell him how he works so hard and I am so proud of him being moms big helper.

While we wait for dad to come home with pizza the kids play together. I hear crying and go check to see my son wrestling too much and I tell him “she is not having fun anymore, when she is crying you have to stop.” He looks up at me and the invisible hazy wall in his eyes is gone. He understands and reluctantly stops. I could look into those eyes all night, I love those eyes. I tell him thank you for listening and smile at him.

After dad comes home we eat dinner and get to play games. Ninja Turtles, Mario Brothers, and Mario Kart have become our favorites. My son is really good at these games he even helps teach me a few things. I love being able to play games with him and just enjoy being together. We have fun now, we laugh, we are happy together. I could never imagine my life without him.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Driving the Beast

As I sit there I look at all the buttons and gadgets all to control the huge beast I call a Suburban. It smells like old fry sauce and gasoline. I already feel sick. I turn the key into the ignition and hear it angrily roar to life. He is hungry and will not cooperate unless fed. I pull out onto the predetermined path laid out in front of me by gravel and tar.

When I pull into my beasts feeding station I know all of the dangers ahead of me. I make sure to leave my cell phone in him and take the key out of the ignition. I touch a few metal objects on my way to the pump to ensure that a spark of electricity does not threaten to disintegrate me. I don’t know what is worse the cost of his breakfast or knowing the dangers in getting it. I fill him up to delay his next feeding.

I get back in and look into his rib cage at my precious cargo strapped in without a care in the world. Riding in the beast does not faze my six children. When we start to move again he feels sloshy and almost drunk. Slowly we make our way up to the four lane circus called a highway. I watch carefully examining my chance at joining. This feels like a sick game of Russian Roulette. I pull the trigger and I have made it through once again but I wonder when my luck may run out.

I look to watch the painted lines placed as useless barriers and try to stay on my side. I am aware of the others next to me and hear their groans. I feel squished between the lines as if my beast is the obese man looking for clothes in the junior section.

I am coming to a green light and my anxiety builds because green lights are more fickle than a sixteen year old girl on a date. I have to decide if I should slow down and prepare for it to turn red or hope for the best and try to make it through. I start to think I have a chance but it turns red and I have just enough time to stop.

My children consider this the starting line for a new race. When the light turns green they see the beast as a race car and me incapable of accessing all of its speedy powers. My odds usually aren’t good and this time is no exception; I lose badly. Before the disappointment can kick in I pull into our destination full of ice cream, french fries, and a play place. I am the hero, we made it and our award awaits us.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Child ADHD Signs

Starting school is an exciting time for many families. You send your child off in their cute new clothes, backpack packed and ready, excitement filling the air, and all ready to succeed. What happens when you find yourself with a child struggling and suddenly school does not come so easily? It may be ADHD. Please read my story of how I found out my son had ADHD and because of that discovery finding ways to help him be successful at home and at school.

I looked at my son in the eyes. He was looking at me but it feels like he was not really seeing me. It feels like there is a hazy invisible wall in his eyes that I can't break through. We need to get his homework done and I am losing my patience. I tell him the word is "The" and make him repeat it to me 3 times after asking him what the word is. He blurts out "And". "I just told you what the word was, don't you remember, are you not listening to me?". I can't do this anymore because I know I am just getting grumpy and impatient so I tell him we will take a break.

He runs off happily in the other room and before long I hear crying. I go in to find him playing with his sisters except they have decided it is not fun anymore. I tell him multiple times to leave them alone and that they are crying. "They are not having fun anymore. That is their bodies and they don't want you doing that anymore. Do you see how they are crying and sad, it is not fun." Nothing seems to work. He is not phased. Finally I have to put him in time out and usually one of two things happen he screams and wont stop crying or he just sits there like he has no care in the world. I am not looking forward to either one.

While he sits there my daughter comes in the room, a reminder that my son recently cut her hair because it was "beautiful". These impulsive and poor choices make me want to lose my mind. He is 6 now and should be able to see that is not okay to do. It has been another long day. I get the kids all to bed and still don't finish his homework. Yesterday I had parent teacher conference and I never enjoy hearing what they have to say because it is always the same that he is struggling and a lot.

The next day when my son gets off the bus he shows me his paper from the bus driver to show if he was listening today or being difficult. Today it is a smile and I am relieved. After months of working with the bus driver I think we have found a system that helps him keep on track. He needs positive or negative reinforcement and it has to be done quickly or it wont keep him interested and remembering his goals for long.

After letting the kids relax after school I tell them it is time to clean up their rooms. I admit I have almost given up on seeing my son do any of the cleaning so I tell them who helps gets a surprise to try and make it feel fair. Then when they are done we can do baths tonight and they are excited so they clean and hurry and bring down their clean pajamas. Except for my son. He can't seem to follow simple instructions even after I remind him 5 times something keeps him distracted. I get his for him like usual and I am not proud of that. I feel like I am encouraging the behavior.

I wonder if I really am just not strict enough with him. Then again I feel huge amounts of guilt because I feel like I am always scolding him for not listening and putting him in time out. Even his father can't get through the wall that we feel is between us. Sometimes when he was not doing what I wanted him to I would ask why and he would say that he is trying. I believed him, I feel like I saw in those eyes that he really wanted to do what I wanted. He wanted to make me happy. I tried many times complimenting the good in him, I wanted to tell him when he was doing good so he would want to do good. It was hard telling him how great he was for the little things and explaining to my other kids that things are harder for their brother. Even when I tried to look for him listening and obeying they were few and far in-between.

I remember my breaking point this last summer. Honestly one of the hardest days of my life. My son decided to poop in a cup and spread it all over his sisters wall, bed, clothes, toys etc. I was shocked. I was mortified. I did not know what to do. Looking into my sons eyes I did not see remorse or understanding. Thankfully my husband was home so I just went out and sat in my hot car and cried. Something must be seriously wrong here and I need help. Did I just mess up badly somewhere while raising him. I felt guilt that maybe it was me potty training too early or not giving him enough time and attention. I had no idea what my next step needed to be.

This was the moment that I hate to admit the one where I seriously considered if my life would be better without my son in my family. Not to kill him or anything like that but maybe there was a place for troubled young kids where he could go and get help. When I felt calm enough I took him outside and talked to him. I asked him if he liked being in our family. He said yes and I explained that to be in a family we have to love and be kind to each other and that what he did was telling his sister and me that he does not love us. He said he does love us and I believed him but I desperately wanted him to understand that these things are hurting us. I called my doctor and scheduled the next available appointment for him. We had to answer questions about him and so did his teacher. My son was all over the room, not focused, was rolling around on the doctors chair with that glazed look. When my doctor told me he feels it is a very strong possibility that my son has ADHD I had hit such a low that I knew I needed to trust him. Trusting him was one of the best choices we have ever made. This would be a start to a new and better life for our family.

*Want to know how Medication helped my son? Click here! If you have any concerns that your child may have ADHD please consult your doctor as soon as possible. The less time you wait the less time your child has to struggle. There is help available.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Tips for a Happy Marriage

 I admit I think most of the credit to my happy marriage should be given to my husband because he is so patient and loving. Still I thought I would make a list of 30 ways I believe have helped us keep our marriage strong and may help others.

  • Keep your fights and intimacy between only you and your spouse. (Except maybe a professional counselor and no your relative who one day wants to be a counselor does not count) Also make sure there is intimacy!
  • Having secrets as a couple is a good thing. We love to smile when we think of a secret story that nobody else knows about and giggle about moments that only we know. It also creates some great inside jokes for just the two of you to enjoy.
  • The only secrets you keep from your spouse are special surprises you are planning for each other. Plan those often.
  • Don’t call each other names or attack their insecurities
  • Use only ‘I feel’ instead of ‘you’ statements
  • Make a safe place to communicate without judgement
  • If you find yourself wondering why your spouse isn’t being affectionate, giving, or loving enough ask yourself if you have been with them. Most of the time you will find it goes both ways.
  • Check in regularly, asking how each person feels and make one goal to improve in the future even if you don’t feel like you need this discussion.
  • Try new things together which will keep some fun, excitement, and give you even more stories you can laugh about.
  • Even if you are mad and your spouse says I love you, say it back
  • Don’t be needy but know when you are needed. My husband does not clean the house every day but there are moments that he sees I am having a really bad day and cleans without me even having to ask for help.
  • No one else’s opinion matters except yours and your spouses. Don’t seek confirmation from others that what you or your spouse is doing is good or bad.
  • Never lie, even small ones. Some of the hardest things are telling when you have made a mistake but I promise it is worth it. Trust is essential.
  • Never be too honest. Do I know that I don’t have a body like a model. Ofcourse. I still love to hear my husband tell me I am the sexiest woman in the world (Even now I can see him reading this and saying “You really are the sexiest woman in the world” and I eat it up every time.)
  • Forgive and as fast as possible.
  • Fight when you have calmed down. I have noticed for us it is best to talk about unrelated topics and come back to what was bothering us when we are calm.
  • Just because you fight does not mean one of you needs to sleep on the couch. If you wake up on the couch you are just going to be grumpier and being mad shouldn’t stop you from getting a good nights sleep. (Yes I know this is going against the never go to bed mad rule but this has worked so much better for us.)
  • At the end of every fight there is something you both can say sorry for. You are never completely an angel even if it means saying sorry for raising your voice too loud.
  • Admit when you are wrong. I have had many times where I have had to say “oh you are right.” He loves these moments!
  • Always say hello and goodbye. Some may think it is silly that your spouse should know where you are but I think it’s being respectful.
  • Wrestle. I love running around the house and tackling each other down. This should however not be done during a fight!
  • Make sure your spouse knows that you notice all their hard work. Tell them thank you for going to work or for playing with the kids. Just because some things are expected does not mean they should go unappreciated.
  • Set an amount you feel comfortable spending before you need to talk about the decision with your spouse. For us it is $50 but discuss this together and find a number that works best for you. We also don’t sign a contract without talking with each other.
  • Be equal partners. Even though my husband brings home the paycheck I have the same say in how our money is spent and even though I am the one who becomes pregnant my husband still has the same say in how many children we have.
  • Be on the same team. With kids it is nice to talk about big decisions together but sometimes a child will ask you for something and when you say no they will try your spouse for a better answer. This also works if one of you doesn't want to go to a party you were invited to, say no or yes together.Remember you are teammates going for the same goal.
  • Save the last bite of dessert for your spouse. We usually find that the last bite ends up being cut in half and we take the bite together.
  • In a crowded room make sure to smile, wink, or squeeze their hand. It is one of the best feelings in the world to know that even with all the distractions you are still their priority.
  • Pick your battles. I am not too concerned about his plans for our yard so I let him have it and when something is important to you he will return the favor.
  • Care even when you don’t. His plans for the yard are not something that gets me excited but I have sat out there listening to him talk about where the goats will go and how he will build his barn because it is important to him. Just like he listens to me talk about how that annoying girl on the bachelor is still on the show.
  • Look for the good and your will find it. If he gave you flowers are you looking at the thorns or the roses?

If you are ever looking for something to spice things up check out Pure Romance Everything is confidential and you can go as sweet or as bold as you want!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bipolar or ADHD?

It has been a great week. I am super mom! My house is clean, the kids are taken care of, homework is done, dinner is yummy. I have been busy all week making sure I have the kids caught up on dentist and doctor appointments. I need to run to the store so I can get enough food to make dinner tomorrow for my family plus a sweet friend who seems to be having a hard time. Plus tomorrow I need to go parent help at the kids school and study for my exam. I am not worried because I can do this, I am on top of it, I have found my niche in the world. I am thinking about signing my kids up for classes again to give them something fun to do and build their self confidence. I have time to kill so I stumble across E-bay. If I am going to put the girls in dance or tumbling then they are going to need some cute leotards. I search finding the best deals and there are so many cute ones. They need these I better buy enough that they can have variety. Before I realize it I have spent over $100 dollars on leotards but that is money well spent. We need them and  I am sure we can make that money up and still pay our bills.

I am so excited! I am such a good person, I work so hard to keep my family organized and happy. I need to go and read my kids a bedtime story and tuck them in. They love me so much. I say goodnight and head on over to clean up the dinner dishes while my husband relaxes after work. He wants me to come and relax with him and I am annoyed. I have to have everything clean before I can relax I don't understand why he does not see that. He should just be grateful that he has a wife that is cleaning and doing everything to keep this family going. I tell him my idea about putting the kids into classes and he is concerned. Worried that I am taking on too much. I don't understand that. I am obviously doing a great job, how hard is it to drive the kids to a few activity's. He is worried about money as well. I do the finances I know how much money we have, if he doesn't trust me to make these choices for our family why doesn't he take over. He says sorry and tells me how he trusts me to make the best choice. I don't understand why he cant sacrifice so we can have our needs while we sacrifice so he can go to school. Does he not see how much I do for him, he should feel lucky to have me as his wife because most wives would not put up with all I do. I go to bed feeling accomplished and excited to wake up for another day of the busy and fulfilling life I live.

Fast forward a couple of weeks I wake up exhausted. The house is a complete mess. This is so disgusting and overwhelming. It is time to send the kids off to school and we are scrambling to do homework and get ready because we didn't do it the night before. I am doing hair and remembering we forgot to do baths last night again. I get mad at my daughter because she is trying to take a pencil to school so she can do some homework on the bus. I swear she has taken at least 20 pencils to school and they never come back. I rush them out the door and remember that I have to parent help today. I don't want to go anywhere or see anyone. I write a quick e-mail explaining that I can't make it today. Then I remember that I also am supposed to drop the kids off at dance and Karate. I hate driving. I think today is just too stressful to go anywhere. I wish I didn't sign them up for classes. We are tight on money and could really use that extra income.

I tell myself today I will get the house clean. I restart the laundry in the washer because it has sat too long and stinks. I need to do homework but I can't study in this mess so I need to clean first but if I am going to get energy to clean I need to relax. I relax and by the end the time my husband comes home the house is dirtier and I am still in my pajamas. I don't feel like making dinner but I throw a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven. We push the bowls from breakfast out of the way and eat. I need to get the kids to bed and they want me to tuck them in. I can't read tonight I just don't feel good. They are disappointed and I feel horrible. I walk downstairs knowing I am a bad mom. I am not good at this and I just can't make myself be better. My husband sees me and smiles he wants to spend time with me. I don't understand why he can still love me and smile when I am obviously a mess. He should be mad and telling me I should be working harder but he doesn't. The mess doesn't even seem to bother him but I know deep down it must bother him. He must just be hiding his real feelings and secretly he must think that he wishes I would be better. I do nothing while he is just so good. He works so hard and accomplishes so much there is no way I can compare to how awesome he is. I am a failure, I am worthless. I go to bed hoping that I can be better like I have been hoping for the past week.

I wake up and feel motivated. I don't know why this house was so hard to clean before and I am excited to get it cleaned and be organized. Today is going to be a great day I don't know what was wrong with me last week but I am over it now. That is in the past and there is no way I can go back to that, especially not with how good I am feeling now. It is going to be a great week. I am super mom...