Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Possible, But Let's Stick to the Facts

Everyone who has children who like school and like to do homework, here is a look at what it is like to help a child with ADHD do homework.

Keegan, look at the problem, I will help you read it.  Keegan, come on look at the problem.  A man drove 758 miles on Monday and 437 miles on Tuesday.  Keegan, what did I say "what oh, it's time for homework."  I read it again.  Keegan, what are we trying to find.  "Math answers?"  Yes, now tell me what we are trying to find.  The man drove 758 one day and 437 miles the next.  So what do we need to do?  Please look at the problem and quit playing with the dog.  "oh ya, what?"  Keegan if he drove 758 miles on Monday and 437 miles on Tuesday, how many miles did he drive all together.  "I don't know, maybe he had less gas on Tuesday."  Yes, maybe that is the right answer.  UGH I need a drink.

It would be easy to offer a lot of suggestions for this type of child.  Don't let him do anything until he is done.  Put him in a room with no distractions.  Take away privileges until he works faster.  But see, it doesn't work like that when your child has ADHD.  If you parent the way you would with a standard child (I refuse to say normal) your child never gets any privileges and is always in trouble.  You have to be patient and understanding but most important you need to alter the bar.  Don't lower it, alter it.  Use a different scale and be creative.  This is hard for me because the children I had before I had kids loved to do homework, they were compliant and easy to parent; just like the kids I was around as a kid.

Having divergent learning kids has been stressful to say the least.  You worry about getting "the call from school" all day long.  You learn to deal with the stares and comments you hear from others who think you must just be a shitty parent if your kid acts like that.  But most importantly, you learn to really appreciate those moments when all the stars align and see the small, small, mini steps of improvement.  My kids are smart- hell they beat the socks off of kids their age in knowledge and technological skills.  And because they have had consistent lives and parents who care, they will be successful. 

I knew when I got married that my husband had been a difficult child.  That is uncle had sever ADHD and dyslexia but that he was the chief of plastic surgery in Ann Arbor Michigan.  That his uncle had to be put in a pen with a bum lamb to keep him out of trouble on the farm but that he had done two tours of Viet Nam as a drill Sergeant and retired with medals of honor.  I just never thought about what it would be like to raise children like that.  Because I was planning on having really smart (like my husband) kids with excellent study skills (like me).  I guess you don't get to pick your genetics............

So until my youngest is older and more independent, I will continue to beat my head with every story problem.  And then laugh about it with my father in law and go further questioning if he maybe didn't have as much gas the second day and also got a late start because the pool at the hotel was really nice and he wanted to get a chance to use it.  Or maybe he had friends in the second town he was visiting with that day.  Regardless of the story you create to go along with the story problem, you gotta admit its much more fun to analyze the story then to just solve it. 

Friday, September 14, 2012


Before I had kids I was the perfect parent.  I was awesome and totally rocked it.  That is how I start out each and every parenting class I teach.  Its so much easier to be the expert, the rocking it parent when the children in your imagination are your offspring.  Then there is reality.............

I do rock it with new borns and infants.  I am super woman when they are little and just need to be changed, fed, loved and held.  I can cope with the lack of sleep like none other- oh ya baby!  I can do teething and post immunization crying in a single bound.  But then they get older..............

I was the "good girl" as a child.  A born people pleaser who always wanted people to notice that I was good.  As I was good at being good.  In kindergarten CCD I told my mom I was "the goodest one in the whole class"  I heard my mom tell my teacher who replied, "she is."  In third grade, I made it my mission to not only sit up straight, listen attently and do all my work but I also made sure to tell on the boys every day and every time they did something wrong.  Poor TA got in trouble with Sr. Assumpta every day because of me.  I made it my mission to not let anything he did go unpunished.

Paybacks are a bitch aren't they?

First off, the goodest girl in the class is also the ass kiss and the sneakiest.  Don't ever forget that sneaky part.  I really was good.  I really did comply.  But I also got away with a few things because people would believe what I said even if it was a lie because why would such a good girl need to lie?

I think my statute of limitations is up and I can confess to this one now.  I worked at Ponderosa Steak House during high school and the first semester of college.  One night I got the idea that it would be fun to buy some wine coolers and put them in the soda glasses so we could have them while we closed the restaurant.  I told one of the others and we sent Teresa a server who was over 21 to Albertson's to get some.  Most of us working that night kicked in a few bucks and we were all careful to not tell the Mormon girl what we were doing.  The bottles were in the bathroom so when I changed my clothes to go home I put them in a sack to throw them away on the way out the door.  Oddly, that night and probably the only night ever, the manager came to the back area to check us off on our closing protocol.  He came around the corner just as I came out of the bathroom.  Maybe he knew..........?  I was so scared I dropped the bag and the bottles rolled out.  "I found these in the bathroom, I stammered"  Any tippsiness I might have had was gone from the adrenaline running through my veins.  He asked me who's they were and I said I didn't know.  He replied with "I'm pretty sure you know who they belong to and defending the person who did something like that is not the right choice.  You let them know if they ever do that again, they will be fired."  Ha Ha!  The good girl rides free again he didn't suspect me- that is what my teenage brain told me.  But now, maybe he did and he knew that the embarassment was punishment enough.  It was because I never did that again.

I digress, but my kids are not like me.  They are not the people pleasers.  The things that worked on me don't work on them.  Parenting has been hard.  The older two were challenging but the baby is the one who is going to push me over the edge.  I have been to "THAT POINT" with him on many occasion.  That point, meaning the point where I see myself bashing his head against a wall.  The point where I want to "slap the shit out of him"  The point where I have to remind myself that I am adult and that I have the ability to change my mind about how I am handling a situation and back out- retreat- put myself in time out.  I joke about it at times- "Can you see the headlines, University parenting instructor behind bars for beating her own child"  but its scary to know that if I can go there that anyone can.  In addition to my first sentence, I also always tell my classes,

"right now, while you are pregnant, you can't imagine ever being so angry at your child that you will hit him/her.  You are very judgemental about the person who has.  You see the statistics and think you don't fit the profile for the type of person who would beat their child or shake them to death but every one in this room; everyone left in charge of a child has the potential to go there.  It may not be with an infant or a toddler, it may be with a teenager (then I make a joke about shaken teen syndrome to lighten the mood) but it can happen and it doesn't make you bad it makes you human.  Parenting has so many joys and rewards AND it has challenges and self doubt.  You may or may not use the breathing skills you learned in birth class to get through labor but there is no "epidural" for life and that is when the breathing skills are going to be needed."

There are outstanding parents who have easy children to parent and there are outstanding parents who are doing a damn good job with difficult children.  Don't get me wrong, there are some horrible parents out there too.  But the next time you see a mom in the store with a child who seems out of control, don't judge.  She may be the best damn parent out there who has a difficult child and in the end, that child will become a wonderful, productive memeber of society due to her patience, love and understanding of who that child can be.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Allergic to Bees

My husband and kids are all afraid of  bees.  It drives me crazy because they don't like to do things outside just because of the bees.  I don't love bees.  You won't find me outside luring them in my dirction so I can kiss them on the lips or anything but I can tolerate them.  And I refuse to give up "deck time" in order to avoid them.  I do have traps in the trees to keep them at bay.

So last Wed. I had left my office for a meeting and called Brian to make sure he was still able to pick up Keegan due to my late meeting.  He said yes, but that he would most likely pick him up early since the school called and said he had been stung.  I asked if he was OK and he said that he was sure he was fine.  The secretary had mentioned that he had a rash and wondered if he was allergic.  Brian told them that he wasn't. 

I tried to call B after my meeting but he didn't answer any of his phones.  I went to my next meeting and took my phone with me.  I aplogized since I never take a phone to a meeting and explained the whole bee thing.  No calls.

After the meeting I went to my office and got the message the secretary had left me saying she was concerned because he had a rash all over his back.  I dismissed it myself but called home.  Daniel answered and said that dad had gone back to work but that everyone was fine.  I asked about Keegan and he said "he's broken"  (Daniel has an interesting sense of humor) I asked for clarification and was told that he had been stung by a bee.  "I know! but is he OK?"  "Ya he's fine."  "OK then, since its been a very crazy day I will get Cafe Rio and be home in 30 minutes."  I got home only to find that Keegan's hand was the size of a baseball.  And no one found that odd?!

I called the pediatrician but it was after hours so I had to wait.  I fully anticipated having to drive back to the hospital to see the on-call person.  A few minutes later Karen called (she is one of my favorite peds- I want to be her when I grow up)  She said to give him Benadryl and ice it.  I told her my concern was that bee stings get worse with each exposure and she agreed.  She said to call Lisa (our reg ped) in the morning.

It turns out Keegan is one of the those kids who gets hyped up on Benadryl- sad, I was kind of looking forward to it knocking him out (I know that I am not the only mom who kind of enjoys an occasional day of a sick kid cause it calms them down).

The next morning his hand was bigger.  So I gave him another dose and called the pediatrician's office.  Then we packed up the car and headed to my office.  Oh a day of my kid in my office means nothing gets done.  But who is complaining because really how many moms can avoid using sick time to care for their child.......

We got to the appointment and were told that he isn't necessarily allergic to bees but that he had an LLR  (Large Localized Reaction) except remember that part about the secretary saying he had a rash?  I told Lisa that I never saw a rash but that the secretary said he had one.  She said that based on the information given, we still couldn't say allergy but........... There is a5-10% chance that if he gets stung again it could become a full blown anaphylactic reaction.  5-10%?!  My analogy- That means that if you were going to a party with 100 people somewhere between 5 and 10 would get shot and die.  Would you still go to the party?  My pediatrician agreed and now we have epi pens.  The damn things aren't cheap either.  With insurance they are 40.00 each set.  I have two sets one for school and one for my purse.  And they expire in a year.  But its a good investment.