How we got here.

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At this point I think I should talk about how we got here. In an earlier post I talked about how I had known long before his actual diagnosis that we had a special child.

So where did it begin?

As I said earlier it began right from his first steps, he was always a busy kid.

Once he turned three was when it became very apparent. I was told I was too hard on him, that he’s just being a boy, that I needed to go easy on him, but I couldn’t accept any of those.

If I went easy on him, he was like the Tasmanian devil (and that’s no joke!), if I let my guard down for even a second he would be jumping off the counter (literally), if I slacked off and eased up on the rules and routine, we would suffer for days.crop

Tyler’s Dad and I split when he was about 2 years old. We just didn’t work and with the challenges of Tyler added on top of it we just couldn’t make it work at all. So, every few days Tyler would visit his Dad and Nan. The break was a welcomed one, one that I really really really needed! But those first couple days he was back were torture.

Their routine was much different from mine and boy did I know it when he came home. Every little thing would set him off, his sleep was different, his eating was different and it would take those first few days to get him to be somewhat back to our normal.

After a while of this I began to google. And most things I was noticing were linked to ADHD. So, I made an appointment with a pediatrician in St.John’s. She told us he was too young to diagnose and to watch what he’s eating and drinking and to make sure he’s getting enough sleep. I thought to myself, well this is easy, he’s already a pretty decent sleeper and he’s not too bad of an eater.

The behavior continued…….

We made an appointment with our family Doctor. She recommended behavioral therapy through community health.

So that’s what we did…..

With only two sessions they referred us to a program called Strongest families.

http://strongestfamilies.com/ Here’s the link.

This program was awesome!! It helped a lot! And I completely recommend it if you’re having any behavior problems. The techniques they teach and the support from the coaches is incredible. I was finding that he was pretty good when I was around but when he was left to his own devices, he was a terror. He was swearing, hitting, lying, and misbehaving all the time.

Now, on to school life. Our first teacher was amazing, we both loved her so so much! She didn’t see it at all, she said that he’s busy and bright and just an active kid. His second teacher could see something, there were numerous notes sent home about him disrupting class and misbehaving. His bus rides were torture for his poor bus driver. At least once a week I was called to the school to find Tyler sitting in the office. We were told he was pretty close to getting removed from the bus for safety concerns. Then onto his principal. I will never be able to thank him enough. Lucky for us he was well aware of this mental illness. He brings me in one day and says “have you ever thought about ADHD?” And he will never know the flood of emotions that went through me that day.

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It was like 5 elephants jumped off my shoulders. It was that long black tunnel finally had a pin hole of light to run to. I then proceeded to tell him about how we talked about it before but nothing ever came of it. I told him if he would back me up I would begin the process again.

This school has supported us ever since!

It was because of everything we had already done and the backing of the school that our diagnosis process went fairly quickly.

But a quick diagnosis isn’t always thes  norm. So have patience, they want to rule out any other issues before this one because the medications could be very harmful to a child that doesn’t have ADHD.

Since diagnosis, it’s been a learning curve. I’m currently in the middle of reading a book called The Explosive Child. This one has already had so many “aha” moments. I’ll make a post about it when I’m finished, if it’s helped or not.

Next on the roster is What to expect when parenting children with ADHD by Penny Williams.

And that brings us to today. Where I’m writing these blogs and hoping to connect with those parents that are at a loss.

I’m also in the process of finding out more information on local support groups and programs, because it really does take a village to get us all though this journey.

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Are you a believer?

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So, at this point I’ve heard it all, it’s not real, it’s just an excuse for bad behavior, it’s poor parenting, he’s just being a boy, the list of judgments goes on and on.

I’m a believer and I’m not here to make you one, I’m just here to educate. So often people jump and try to argue with people who think ADHD isn’t real. When in reality their ignorance is really just a lack of education. So, next time someone tells you to “just control your kid” try not to be mad, begin to educate.

Here’s a link to help with that

https://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/childhood-adhd/understanding-adhd-basics

We as parents know our kids. We know what they like and what they don’t like, even when they don’t. And with an ADHD kid we have to make that decision more times than enough, just to get us through that McDonald’s line or get out of the Dollarstore, all taking the chance that this might trigger a meltdown anyway but at least we’re out of the lineup!

One story pops to mind when talking about decision making. So, we’re in Cuba, (ADHD doesn’t care where you are. It follows you everywhere and you always have to be on your guard ready for anything) we had the best day! Myself, my sister and Tyler head to the town of Varadero. We spent the day shopping and walking and looking at everything we could see, (he’s about two weeks in taking his medication so things are going better than we expected) it was a long day of walking so we catch the bus back to the resort to get ready for supper (we decided on a reservation that night).cropped-31770860_10160173774490237_2829660987320172544_n5.jpg

We must have pushed him too hard (because he was so well behaved) that when we get ready to walk out the door and skipper needs to choose shoes, he can’t!!!

Oh great! Here we go! Let the games begin.

I tried reasoning with him, I tried giving the pros and cons to each pair of shoes (there was three to choose from, one pair of flip flop thong sandals, one pair of sandals with the Velcro straps around the top of the foot and above the heel, and a pair of sneakers) tried telling him which shoes he was going to wear (he was having no part of any shoe) as time was getting short, so was my patience.

Lenny (that’s my boyfriend) steps in, trying to use rationality with him, (thinking he’s probably just giving mom a hard time) with we’re going to be friggin late!

Still, nope, no go. Still can’t decide on shoes.

Julie steps in (that’s my sister, she has the patience of a saint…..until she doesn’t) so she works on him for a bit and then(God love her!) she sends Lenny and I to go on to supper with hopes she will meet us sooner rather than later.

I still don’t really know what happened in that room but with a little cerveza (for Julie, not Tyler), a little time and I’m sure a few choice words (probably from both of them) they come out hunky dory. Ready to face the world and get some food.

Which also stems back to my previous post about squirrel syndrome.

So back to my original thought, we as parents know our kids, I knew we were going to face a meltdown, but I didn’t want to miss our reservation (which was my mistake and lesson learned) so I proceeded anyway and failed.

So, whether you believe or not, maybe the next guy does, you don’t need to tell him that it’s not real.

Or even if the next guy doesn’t, again you don’t need to tell him it is.

But with proper education and advocacy for invisible illnesses like ADHD, we can all educate the ignorance out of the people who are willing to accept it, and ignore the ignorance of people who choose not to.

Squirrel Syndrome

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Most people know Squirrel Syndrome (which I’m going to call SS for the rest of this blog) from the movie Up! Where the dog gets distracted by a squirrel in mid sentence, but this is a real thing, it happens to pretty much everyone. You’re watching a show and get distracted by something that you should have done, or your’re at the grocery store and on your way to the onions you notice watermelon and grab that, just to completely forget the onion.

Normal, right?

But, what if you are walking home from the bus and suddenly remember something you could do when you get home, run across the street without looking, and almost get hit by a car?

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Not so normal right?

For most of us looking both ways is second nature, but for an ADHD kid, it’s not so much. Their little brains are going a mile a minute, constantly thinking, wondering or day dreaming and then forget common sense.

For parents SS is super frustrating, I mean, try using a time out chair when literally 10 seconds after you place them there they forget why they’re there, and the Supernanny process is to not speak, just continue to place them back on the chair. If you’re an ADHD mom you know that this tactic typically doesn’t work. Like, what’s the point of putting them back there, if when they get off the chair after hours of putting them back on or after trying to hold them in the chair if they’re just going to forget.

Here’s a story, one time Tyler was in time out (no clue what he was there for now) I had put him back on that damn chair 100 times, no joke. I was tired, I was a single mom, I just didn’t have it in me to keep putting him back on that chair. Curse the chair! Burn it! I didn’t want any more part of that chair.

Anyway, I decide to hold him in it, no way he’s getting up now, right?

WRONG!

While holding him down and him getting frustrated with me because I was restraining him, and things beginning to escalate to hyper meltdown status, my glasses slid down on my nose a little, prompting the little shit to stop mid meltdown, completely calm down, no more tears, no more fighting me, no more screaming.

He pushes my glasses back up my nose!!!!(squirrel)

I had a million emotions run through me all at the same time (which as an ADHD parent you’ll know happens way more than we’d like) I was mad, furious even (cause that’s all it took for the tantrum to end), I was happy (because the tantrum time out was over), I laughed (because if you could have seen the look on his face as he slowly pushed the glasses back up all while keeping a straight face and eye contact), and surprised (because the dude gave me eye contact!!)

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Have you ever tried the parenting method where you get down to their level and put one hand on their shoulder for contact to keep their attention to have an important conversation?

I have too, over and over and over again. With little eyes flicking back and forth like a pendulum. I had to resort to making him repeat what I’ve said to ensure he has heard me, because even with the touch his brain is so busy that he just can’t focus on our conversation.

Discipline is hard, it’s even harder with an ADHD kid. What works for most kids just doesn’t work here. SS is real and it’s frustrating for parents, so if you have any tips on how to discipline though the wrath of squirrel syndrome please feel free to leave a comment.

The Journey Begins

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“People who annoy people are the luckiest people in the world” – Howie Mandel

If that’s the case Howie, than my boy is the luckiest around.

I always knew he was special, right from his first steps. My busy little one year old was into everything, we had to remove it all from the waist down, simply telling him “no” did not suffice.

As time passed it became more apparent that this little nugget just wasn’t “normal”. From when time outs just didn’t cut it, to his complete melt down because his finger was “infected with pink” (his words, not mine) because he got into pink nail polish, to our most recent meltdown of expecting white rice but getting broccoli rice and he couldn’t put ketchup on it (again, his thought process, I don’t care how he grosses up food, just as long as he eats it)

In April, 2018 Tyler was diagnosed with ADHD. Now, to some this would have been devastating, but to me, not so much. This was a relief, finally after years of knowing something just wasn’t right, I had confirmation. There is a whole back story here that I will share in time, but for right now I want to tell you what I’m doing writing a blog.

After a routine catch up with my Aunt we had talked about how I’d like to advocate for parents of kids with ADHD. How when Tyler was diagnosed we were given a prescription and sent on our way like deer in headlights. All I could think was, so, what do we do now? Where’s the manual?  How do we get this to be a manageable mental illness? Who’s supposed to help me? Give me all the books. Give me all the support groups. Give me all the help.

That’s when I realized that the support groups were just people asking if anyone has a child doing this or that and people commenting yes or no, but no one really sending us in a direction to correct those behaviors. Most everyone is stressed out and “dealing” with their kids, but that’s not what I was looking for. I was looking for somewhere to not only know that I’m not alone, but to give other parents the resources that I’ve found helpful and stories (cause we all know there’s a lot of them) of the fun times, the accomplishments, the failures and the funnies. A place where I didn’t learn to “deal” with my child, but where I could learn to live and enjoy my child, because when a child feels like they are being “dealt” with it is more than likely going to make them feel unworthy, and no one ever wants to feel that way.

I found tons of parenting blogs, but none that are specific to parents getting real about ADHD. So, here you are, a blog about a mom who is about to get personal and share the realness of parenting a child with ADHD.

Picture credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYEbAJ4g9Al/?taken-by=lastories&fbclid=IwAR2d4G5dc5YZCMybMJZKBJJUsN9EaRnGg5oh4l8YwTmsx2c-y9XVYTKYD5M