Monthly Archives: August 2015

4 Arms

If I had four arms, oh the things I could do

I could brush my hair while tying my shoes

I could get dressed while playing with my toys

Eat my dessert while drumming some noise

I could do my homework and pet the cat

And pick my nose while swinging a bat

If I had 4 arms, oh these things I could do

But I’d look rather silly I think. Don’t you?

The Sames

I’d like to buy the toy by the guy who says “bye”

And sail in the ship that’s on sale

I’d like to eat two too many tootsie rolls

And pray to never be a dinos prey

I’d like to hear the band play near here

And know that no means no

But all these sames make my head spin

And now I have to go

Back to School – ADHD Style

It’s about to get real again. Life that is. School is right around the corner and that means my “real” full-time job is about to begin; helping my 12 year old ADHD son through school. Some parents might ask, “What do you mean YOUR job? School is his job,” to which I reply, “You’re right!” School is his job, but helping him navigate through the mazes of “expectations” is my full-time job.

I don’t expect most parents to understand but I KNOW a lot of parents with ADHD kids will get it. The work, the stress, the extra energy that comes with sending our active kids out into the non-active world of public education every morning. The emails from teachers about how he/she “had a rough day,” or “was very distracting during class,” and of course, “didn’t turn in assignments.” The nightly battles of getting homework done, books read, bags packed for the next day. And finally, the melting into bed, feeling like a failure because it was all hard. And you didn’t say the right thing, or react the right way, or keep your calm like you swore yesterday you were going to do.

My son will be going into 7th grade and I think I’ve finally figured it out how to do this schooling thing; I am letting go. I’ve been doing this ugly dance with school since he started Kindergarten. The rewarding, the punishing, the bribing, the stressing. I am ready, finally, to let it go (I am sorry if a certain Disney movie song is now stuck in your head). I’m not letting go of my desire to see my son succeed at all, I am letting go of my expectations.

The expectations I have held on to for the past 7 years that he will some day “get it” and it will all click for him. That school will be more like it is for his younger brother; not always fun, but not demoralizing, stressful and hated. Easy enough. I am letting go of thinking my son will eventually care about school and his grades. He doesn’t and to be honest, I don’t know why he would. School is the place he goes every day, that makes him feel the worst about himself.

He has a condition that makes sitting torture. He’s asked to sit for most of the day, no P.E., no fresh air, no chance to MOVE! He has a condition that makes writing as hard for him as unicycling is for most people. He’s asked to sit and write for whole class periods. He has a condition where his brain is absorbing everything around him; sights, sounds, smells, movements and he’s asked to turn all that off and FOCUS. As he’s struggling to do all of these things, he’s being reminded constantly about how he is different. His friends can sit and take notes. His friends can write that paper. His friends don’t need to move their legs and arms in order to feel calmer. Just him. Because he’s different, not as “easy” as the other kids. And he knows his teachers will email me for the slightest infraction. He knows he is considered a failure here, simply for being himself.

My son has an IEP but it is not the saving grace I had once hoped. We constantly have to remind the teachers of his accommodations and there have been times when they outright say they think he doesn’t need them. He’s just lazy. Plus, his IEP does not allow for outside time, exercise, fresh air and natural light. It does not allow for him to express his knowledge artistically, which is his medium. It does not allow for his imagination to wander or roam and explore. It simply gives him an extra 20 minutes during a test to once again, sit, and try and write the answers.

So this year things will be different – we will be different. He will attend school but we will celebrate his successes instead of focusing on the failures. We will review his doodles in the margins of his notebook, doodles that astound me with their intricacy, their detail and discuss them. We will talk about what he is learning so I know he is getting it and worry less about having it on paper. We will brainstorm new, inventive ways for him to demonstrate his knowledge. iPad movie about photosynthesis anyone? We will read more fun books, learn how to cook, explore outside.

He may never be a straight A student. He may never write an A+ paper. But he will know, without a doubt that he is smart. We will celebrate his kindness, his sense of humor and his ability. Because he IS able. And he will know he is loved and accepted.

The WORST Organizational Advice You’ll Ever Read

I’ve read some of the greatest organizational tips out there. I’ve watched the reports, read the magazines, even bought a few books. I’ve tried some of them too. Make big batches of food on a weekend and freeze in individual containers for easy lunches and dinners later. Get kids to gather all needed school/sports supplies for the next day, the night before and have their bags ready to go by the back door. Start a cooking group with friends and each make a 7 serving dish to trade. You’ll have meals for a week and you only cooked once. I love it!

Here’s the problem – I live a life where none of this works. I’ve done the batch cooking and freezing. Then the freezer gets overcrowded and I forget about it. The meals are long forgotten until I am desperately looking for that lone ice cream bar at 11pm at night, that I KNOW is in there and find the year old taco tostada. (I found the ice cream bar btw, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief).

I also did the backpacks by the door tip, where I told the boys it was time to prep for tomorrow and shuffled behind them as they gathered their needs. I even came up with a cool name for it – B2D2 – Backpacks 2 Door 2night. See what I did there? I made it all cool and ‘Star Wars’ like (insert pre-teen eye roll here). The backpacks usually did make it to the back door, sans needed papers, which were often left on the kitchen chair (and one time in the fridge, when son got out O.J and absentmindedly replaced it with his homework). Their toys, gum and Pokémon cards made it into the backpacks tho! But homework folders and books often went missing and once were found outside in the garden. My boys don’t even go out in the garden (ewww bugs – they are working on being a bit more manly), so I have no explanation for that one.

My favorite was the cooking club because that sounded so fun! But then I realized I would need to find 7 friends who 1) liked to cook 2) wanted to cook and 3) had time to cook. I only have 3 good friends and after repeated texts, creating an awesome Facebook “event” for the club and finally *gasp* an actual phone call, I was left with a lot of phone tag messages, 2 maybes on FB and one “Can we just get together for Happy Hour drinks this night instead?”

I tried to get organized and then found when things did not turn out like I envisioned, I was at a loss. I was a blithering shell of a woman, wallowing in my guilt for my failing to be able to do it all.

So I decided to do something that might make this crazy ride called life and parenting, a bit smoother: I stopped. I took a vow to stop reading the articles, stop watching the reports and buying the books. I even went so far as to write my vow on paper and tape it to my bathroom mirror:

“I will stop reading about how to get organized. I will not buy another bin/wall hanging/binder etc. to assist in getting organized. I will stop beating myself up for not being organized. I will stop feeling like a failure – I will enjoy life.”

I’m not saying I’ve given up on keeping things together, trying to keep a tidy house, cooking yummy meals with love and helping my kids learn to be neat and responsible. It’s more that I’ve given up on beating myself up when it does not go the way the books tell me it will. When it all falls apart because I’m tired, or someone is sick, or I just plain don’t want to cook, clean or check bags.

You know what? It’s actually helped! I’m happy more, which my boys love. I smile more, which I love. I am no longer hanging my head in shame, if dinner is slammed together grilled cheese and soup from a can. It’s food – which we eat, at a messy table and laugh, together. I’m ok with my boys possibly (ok, probably) not having all of their stuff together in the morning; a good life lesson for them that THEY need to learn. I realized I have completed my education and it’s up to them now (they’re old enough and most importantly CAPABLE enough) to ensure they have what they need for school. I give reminders but I don’t double check. They’ll learn.

And I am sure someday, their future wives will thank me for raising them to be accountable. Or maybe they won’t learn, in which case I’ll invite their wives to my maybe clean house for a lovely glass of wine. I’ll maybe feed them a wondrous dish I made the month before, froze and reheated quickly. And maybe I’ll invite them to join my cooking club.

Or we’ll just enjoy the wine.

My Need

ADHD you’re exhausting me
Today I can’t deal, I need to be free
I cannot listen to your favorite song
Or say “no” to Slurpees all day long
I cannot pick up ONE. MORE. SOCK.
My eyes are glued to the slow moving clock
I need this day done
I need you in bed
I need some quiet for my aching head
I love you my son, more than you know
Today I can’t handle the ADHD show
I feel so guilty, wishing you away
But I need a break, just for a day
Please understand, I’m doing my best
ADHD is winning, I just need to rest

Everything I Wish For My ADHD Son

There’s so much I wish for with all of my boys. Happiness, peace, love, laughter, lasting friendships; all the usual things parents want for their children. But, I worry more about my oldest who has ADHD. The world can be cruel, people can be mean. Not everyone understands him or cares to take the time to try. I have more fear about his future than my other boys; boys who can sit still in class, remember their homework (and underwear for that matter). Boys who pick up on social cues and know when to stop trying so hard with people, who know when to quiet down or back off.

I’m doing everything I can to help my ADHD son find his way in this world and I there’s so much I want for him.

I want him to never give up his silly side just to fit in. I want him to be confident enough to continue to dance like a deranged chicken, to sing loudly and laugh, even when he knows he has the words wrong.

I want him to never stop doodling – even if it IS in school. I love the wonderful pictures he creates in the margins of his notebook, even if there are more pictures than words. I’d rather look at this talent, than read an essay that I know was torture for him to get down on paper, because he had to sit and focus for 45 minutes to get that one paragraph done.

I hope he never loses his empathy for others. He and his brother fight like the dickens but if his baby brother is in harm’s way, there is no better protector on this planet than my son. If someone is being made fun of, he is the kid who will befriend the underdog and try to make him feel better. He’s the one who will use his own money to buy extra sour candies to share with his friends, not to get them to like him, but because sharing makes him happy.

I hope he never loses his ability to always (and I mean always) look at the bright side of things. To very rarely let this chaotic and often times, cruel world get him down. To continue trying to get others to look at the bright side too, “You should relax more mom. You look prettier when you smile.”

I want him to always challenge the “norm,” whether it be refusing to wear matching socks (because that’s boring), to writing his English paper on how the song, “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows,” makes him happy.

I truly hope he finds a woman to love him for all his grandness. For the way he thinks, “This is fun! Let’s make it even better!” For the way he smiles when he is teasing; lopsided and big. For the way he says the sweetest things when you least expect it like, “You smell like love.” I hope she understands and embraces a life of messiness, a life of everything that is the opposite of conventional “normalcy.” I hope she never loses sight of all the positives. The joy, the unwavering love, the committed-ness to making everything just a little bit bigger – and better.

I hope he knows how much he’s loved. I’m not always the best parent; not always calm in the face of non-stop singing and fidgeting. Not always understanding about the messy room (usually messy within 10 minutes of just cleaning it) and I don’t always say the right thing at the right time. But I love him. I love his smile, his heart, his unconventional ways. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel, he makes me think. He has changed my life for the better, in so many ways. I want him to always know how completely he owns my heart.

Finally, I want him to be happy. More than anything, happy. And in writing this, if my son has taught me anything, it’s that happiness comes with letting go a little of routines. Easing up on the “should-do’s” and simply enjoying the moment. And smiling, because we all look prettier when we smile.

The Digger

I have a secret, please don’t tell

It’s shameful and horrid I might go to hell

It happens each night, when all are asleep

And into my kitchen I silently creep

I’m careful of noise, quiet as a mouse

No one can know this happens in my house

Deep into the dark recesses, I reach down

Fingers fumbling, so cold, till it’s found

I smile as it opens, so full and lush

The stress in my brain begins to hush

I begin the shameful act of digging to find

The treats in the ice cream, they’re all mine

I leave the pint, mottled and sad

I’m an ice cream digger, I know, it’s bad.

%d bloggers like this: