• The boys and I

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    I’m 44, married and live in a sewerless small town on the central coast of California. I am an Inflammatory Breast Cancer survivor. My passions are reading, knowledge, shopping and photography – in varying order depending upon my mood. Though I’ve always wanted to be really good at something, I find that I’m just pretty good at most things. I live with my husband, Daddy-O, and our sons, Ben and Danny who are 10 and 5. Ben has ADHD and enough natural energy to power the Pacific Time Zone… and he’s not afraid to use it. Danny has Norries – a rare genetic disease causing him to be born blind. It’s a crazy, hectic life but I can’t complain any more than usual.
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A Timely Reminder

It has been a trying day around here.  Emotions have  been running high since last night and the unfortunate Flaming Marshmallow Incident which resulted in the burned cornea of one of Ben’s good friends.  We’ve all been feeling on edge.  And Ben decided not to take his ADHD medication this morning. 

I suspected as much when I first woke up to him pesterizing his little brother.  Wrestling.  Playing.  Wrestling.  Teasing.  Wrestling and teasing some more accompanied by an endless stream of noise, words, taunts, vocalizations, words, words, words ad infinitum.  I asked him if he’d taken his meds.  He said he had.  I checked his pill box and saw Friday’s and Sunday’s squares were empty.  Hmmm.  Obviously something was amiss but my coffeeless brain wasn’t up to solving the puzzle.  After re-asking over and over only to get a more adamant version of the same answer each time, I let it go.  It usually takes close to an hour for his pills to kick in after all. 

The moment I stepped through the front door after being at work for the afternoon, I knew I’d been had this morning!  It’s hard to explain the subtle differences in Ben’s behavior when he’s unmedicated.  You can almost tell just by looking at him!  He talks more, for one.  On and on.  And there is a defiant air about him.  And he confronts.  If I ask him to come to the table for dinner on meds he’s more likely than not going to completely ignore me/not hear me until I force him to look me in the eye.  Off medication, he pipes off instantly asking what’s for dinner and proclaiming he doesn’t want that before I can even finish my sentence. 

Tonight was no different.  He pushed and pushed to the point that he practically had to be drug to the table.  Then things got worse.  At one point, Daddy-O was standing behind him forcefully using a hand-over-hand to get him to cut up his own waffles.  The entire family was done eating before Ben had even taken a bite.  He went to bed without dinner at 7:30. 

Ironically, when I finally settled down to check my email I had a comment notification  on a blog post I’d written two years ago:

Aisha, on September 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm Said

Why don’t you get your poor kid off meds and go from there!

Why don’t I get my poor kid off meds?   Because I want him to have a childhood that doesn’t include detentions, perpetual groundings or juvenile hall.  Because I want him to be able to read when he grows up.  Because I want him to be respectful of others and a productive member of society.  Because I don’t want him to struggle for approval and acceptance only to ultimately find it in a group of kids existing on the fringe of what is right.  Because I want him to have more options for friends than those Fringe Kids.  Because if he doesn’t have to expend all his energy fighting the rules he can focus on ways to lift himself up.  Because I love him

I’m sure that tomorrow Ben will take his medication and it will be a better day.  Thank you, Aisha, for giving me reason to pause during a troublesome day and remember how much I love my son and just exactly why it is that I don’t get the poor kid off meds.


12 Responses

  1. I think your photography takes you away from your life, if just for a moment. Your pictures are aways peaceful.

  2. Oh, Stella, I feel for you!

    Hope your family can have some nice Labor Day
    R & R today.

    Best wishes,
    Joan in PA

  3. Oh Stell… What a weekend. Told my guys about the flaming mashmallow incident, and how much I admired your ability to handle whatever fiery objects came flying at you. Your boys have thoughtful, intentional, and loving parents who do everything they can to give them the tools they need to make their way in the world.

    Maybe you need to go for a long walk…


    • A long walk does sound like Heaven! I wish our parenting was as good as your description sounds. “Thoughtful and intentional”. It feels more like “Reactive Parenting” most of the time. 😉

    • Erin….you need an icon, you look like a noob. ;-P

      I love you both…despite my tendency to be an ass. I find ridiculous laughter at the stupidest stuff blows a little pressure out of the valve and I can settle in and get to work on the hard stuff. So…here I am…clowning for you two.

      I think we all need a long walk, tight hugs and the listening ear of great listening bear, like Howard.

  4. OKAY, Stell, flaming marshmallow eyes and no meds aside…what are you doing for YOU?

    Also, and forgive me for being one of those Crappy -People – Who – Come – Up – With – Dumbass – Solutions – Without – Having – A – Clue – About – YOUR – Life, I want you to cogitate on that GFCF thing. At least read about it. Truly, it’s a damn pain in the ass, but I’m amazed how much it cleared my brain for the better (and how fast). It may not eliminate meds, hell, it may not have any effect at all. And yes, it IS a pain in the ass. BUT…somebody once told me a long time ago: if it works, use it. You have to try it first to see…

  5. Hey, Sis!

    I’ve been a teacher for 24 years, and I can tell you that I have seen medications work absolute miracles, saving the fate and futures of many of our ADHD kids. Contrary to what the world’s unknowing but outspoken idiots might blabber, it’s not about what is convenient for teachers or parents. (Hey, if the kid is always zoned, get a new doctor, for cryin’ out loud!) It is, instead, exactly as you say. The right meds allow our babies a fighting chance to be their best, find their purpose and realize their potential. To deny them and “go from there” runs the gamut of wrongs from negligence to the ruination of lives.

    Stay strong and keep loving those boys as only a mother can. You are wonderful!

    Love ya!

    • Thanks, Trina! It’s nice to hear from a teacher who sees it both ways! And I am so sick of the articles about how “over prescribed” ADD meds are. Seriously? ADD meds are legal speed and I have yet to meet the parent that’s trying to amp their kids up!

  6. Hey, Stella.
    Bravo! There’s no question about it, the proper medication and exercise(mental and physical) can make the difference in the direction of everything, for now and the future.
    I’m your age. I was diagnosed with Minimal Brain Dysfunction (MBD) “Extreme Hyper Activity” which is now called ADD/ADHD, when I was 4.
    I was prescribed Methylphenidate(basically Ritilan) and it worked. Unfortunately it was fairly new in ’68 and I was overperscribed dosage’s for three years and didn’t learn much in school. My social skills were better only because I didn’t interact.
    I quit school as a freshman simply because it didn’t work. I was a ‘weirdo’ and disruptive & I still hadn’t figured out how to drive my brain and interact with most people socially.
    I finally figured out how to teach myself as a young adult by doing instead of reading with all the distractions.(concentrating enough to read is difficult for kids w/ADD. Concentrating enough to read in a room full of the sound of flipping pages and kids whispering.. not likely. Actually learning in that environment… probably isn’t going to happen without practice, support and medication.)
    He’s lucky you understand and that the medical profession deems this infliction as a serious hurdle to be reckoned with, now.

  7. Oh, dear. Gotta love the drive by scoldings. Hang in there!

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