Wednesday, April 24, 2013

When it rains...

So it's been a normal week for me. The same usual fights, the same highs and lows, just my usual, normal week.

On Sunday She-hulk and I got our nails done, though the route to get there sucked. The man had taken us to Walmart to get our nails done and to get a Vtec learning tablet for the mini hulk. The nail shop wasn't open when we got there so we wondered around with the men, She-hulk had a few sulking moments and even some tears. She got upset that mini hulk was getting something snazzy and she wasn't getting to pick out a toy. I should also mention her second birthday party was later that night and she was going to get toys and gifts and cake and ice cream from my side of the family.

At the checkout I asked the girl if the salon was to be opened today and she said no - instant sulk and a gasp from she-hulk. after reminding her the store would be open Monday and any day over the course of the next week, we got in the car and headed home. Thankfully the man has keen eyes and spotted another salon and dropped us off.

She was pretty well behaved, though she also had to organize the nail polishes on the wall (but got bored half way through, not that I blame her, there must have been a few hundred). In any event the day ended on a high note.

Monday and Tuesday were even good, a minor fight, but good. Today however, not so good. She refused to go to school. Crying about how tired she was like usual. She refused, and I refused to let her stay home, especially since she`s usually up and moving just after the bus leaves. So, I pushed. I picked her up, and made her go downstairs to get ready. She managed to get her jeans and socks on but I had to put her shoes and coat and backpack on. Well, that`s not true, I went to grab her jean jacket and she flipped and wanted her winter coat. She was crying about a belt too, and I refused to let her get it because she would have either laid on the bed, or gotten distracted and taken far too long, she had minutes to be out the door. She cried at the door for this belt and I kept replying with `Good She-hulk, Have a good day She-hulk, I love you' (obviously I used her name, but unless you already know it, I wont share it, she may be a difficult little girl, but I wont add to her difficulties). She hit the door a few times banging for her belt. She switched to her umbrella and once she had it, she left. She sobbed and dragged her feet, luckily the bus was a stop away when she started walking and I found out she was done by the time she found a friend, and even got on the bus.

That's one of my concerns with her is that she'll skip the bus one morning and not come home. I really should go out there with her, but I can see the bus from my front door.... and mini hulk and dumb dog aren't usually the most forgiving when they get dragged along and told to sit still.

She-Hulk also chose to fake stutter today too, I think in an effort to gain sympathy. She has never stuttered before so I know it's fake, but I found it odd and annoying. She keeps telling me how stressed she is and how everyone hates her and makes fun of her, but she only tells me these things while trying to get her way. I don't doubt that she is getting teased and harassed at some point, I mean she is an easy target and kids aren't always the nicest people in the world, but the fact that she only mentions it when it suits her (we have told her she needs to tell us right away if she expects help, and we ask her about her day when she doesn't go running outside right away, or up to her room), and that she's taken her friends bullying issues as her own (she once told us a story of a girl bullying her that turned out to be her friend's issue, not hers), it makes it hard to know what's fact, fake, and her anxiety.

Urg, my head hurts, it's either the rain or the stress this morning, and I can't focus anymore, so I', out, half an entry and all

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What a week!

It's finally spring here in our part of the world, and She hulk has been outside as often as weather allows. We had two snow days last week, Thursday and Friday. One because of freezing rain possibilities and the second because we actually got it and it knocked out power to something in the area of 27, 000 people. I was woken up to the buzz of the power going out, and the rest because our CO2 alarm went on the fritz without power. She hulk was anxious all morning of course, and a little spazzy since we didn't know for sure about school until I decided that even if it wasn't canceled she wasn't going. The man saved us from our cooling house at 10am and took us to the in-laws. We didn't get home until 8pm, and power had only been on an hour by then.

Saturday we did birthday dinner at the in-laws since our birthday is was Monday (we share the same birthday). She did fairly well considering all the stress and excitement in so few days.

She's been taking Melatonin to help her sleep, and though it's a natural alternative, it's still something I would rather avoid. Weekends she goes without because she can sleep in all she wants if she can't sleep. I've been letting her sleep in until 8am and the extra half hour seems to help, though even she has said if she could sleep until 9am, she'd be much better off. I agreed, but fear for high school.

All in all, it's been a good week. We've had some spaztic mornings, and some defiant nights/fights, but generally, it's been manageable.

The mini hulk and I built a composter and planted some seeds today and she hulk was excited to see that when she got home from school. not too excited she wanted to rush outside more than help me fill the composter, but I was expecting her to be upset we didn't  save her a pod to plant some seeds in, and that mini hulk got to garden and she didn't.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rain, rain, go away...

So after Monday's explosion things have cooled down again. We had a bit of an issue over night lights and light bulbs. She had thrown her lamp or knocked it off the desk in her room during her outburst Monday and subsequently broke the bulb. The glass is alright, thankfully, but it doesn't light up anymore. She has been leaving her overhead light on all night, against my wishes. Lights tend to promote wakefulness and busy minds don't need any help staying up all night. Her needing the light on and claims of being terrified of the dark has lead to other issues with the toddler wanting his light on too. The man has sided with her and really, it's a light, and not worth the fight. Admittedly, that's much easier to see while not in the throws of an argument.

So her light is on, curtains drawn and I'm annoyed at the wasted energy, lack of privacy and toddler fighting, but she's going to sleep, well, I think she is, I don't hear her or see her so I assume she is. She's much more trustworthy than I give her credit for. She tends to stay in her room at least, and she's been told reading is OK, though she tends to draw too, she has a few dozen comics and short stories she's working on, and following kid logic, it's still a book she's using to keep her busy and quiet.

Some of this can also be excitement; her birthday is Monday, so she's got to be excited and worried she wont get the gift she so desperately wants, a scooter.

It really is a roller coaster of a ride with her. When she's up, she's Queen of the world, but when she's down, there really is no place lower to go, and getting there is scary as hell for everyone aboard the ride.

She has so much promise, and so much to give to this world, and that's not just mom talk. She-hulk though she can be, it's not who she is. She is kind and giving. Twice now she has donated hair to Angel Hair for Kids, she regularly donate clothes and toys she doesn't want anymore. She often tried to rescue animals outside, and gets truly heart broken over the environment and litter. She is creative and draws so beautifully, it makes me jealous, her favorite is manga. If she could have any three wishes in the world, one if for world peace, another her own happiness (and includes her family and friends) and the third is usually money, lol.

If there is ever a kid who deserves the best out of life, it truly is her. Given the hardships she's endured, and likely will, I just pray she learns to get a handle on this and use the tools we've given her. If she can do that, she will go far and she will get the happiness she truly deserves.

Right now, I just hope for sun on her birthday, and we'll take this one day at a time.

Monday, April 8, 2013

All I wanted was a coffee and a good book...

Today, I just don't feel like the supermom I want to be.

Once again, it started with waking up for school. I even let my she-hulk sleep in until 7:50am before I told her to get ready. She grumbled and I left to pee the dog and grab a cup of the coffee as it finished perking downstairs. I already had my shower and thought it was going to be an awesome and productive day, I had plans to go shopping for some books I've been longing for and some the little hulk was recommended to have by the speech people. I was also going to snag some awesome sale items from the grocery store in a bid to avoid grocery shopping next week. I had plans, I had ambition. I had no idea what was about to happen.

I went up to get she-hulk at 8:10 when it became apparent she wasn't going to get up anytime soon without help. She grumbled again, and I reminded her that last night I told her she wasn't staying home, no matter how tired she was. It started so quickly. I took her blankets, tossed her some clothes, then found kid approved ones, all the while she screamed at me that she was tired and I was an idiot. She stormed off to the bathroom and slammed the door. I gathered dirty laundry and went downstairs. She spent 5 minutes in the bathroom, leaving her with only 12 minutes left before she had to run out the door. I called her and told her she needed to get moving, again, I was an idiot and even a bitch. She stomped off to her room and slammed the door. I was running out of time and so was she. I don't drive so if she missed the bus, that was it, she was home. And that wasn't going to happen today, besides she'd calm down by the time she got to school, she always does. So I kept moving forward.

Now, I have learned from past experiences, just like today's to let her sleep, and often times do, but I just found out how much school she has missed this year, and it's not pretty. What's worse, is the teacher told her this number about a month ago. Many of these days are from Dr appointments, but only about half, given a rough estimate.

So with all this in mind, I pushed her to get ready, I even called my mom to see if she'd take her to work for the day. While on the phone and with one minute till she had to walk out the door, there she went, storming off to throw her shoes on and "lunch" in her bag. My mom had suggested a bath and that she could drive the she-hulk to school, so I decided to try that route. No dice. She exploded, she wanted to ride the bus with everyone else. I had tried to explain to her that she could still go, but she needed to go calm down in a bath or shower first. Still no dice. I don't even think she heard me at all, I think all she heard was "No" and "School". She lost her mind and kicked at the wall, threw herself back onto the floor and proceeded to throw a toddler in the shopping mall wanting that cookie type tantrum.

Thankfully the bus was only minutes away and she wasn't able to run off to the buss, or god knows where else. She did however yell at the dog and her brother in a way that rubbed me the wrong way so I escorted her to her room.

After putting her on the bed and telling her I wouldn't tolerate her abusive behavior directed at a helpless three year old, I left. Within 10 minutes she went back to throwing her room around, slamming doors, shrieking, calling me a "b**ch" and a "f**king idiot", kicking doors and what sounded like rocking her dresser so insanely back and forth (she had done it in the previous... 5 minute prior outburst) to a sad timid little apologetic mess of a girl. The kid of girl that makes me feel so heartless and uncaring, and cruel (oh, she called me that too because I wasn't going to let her go to school today, not that she could have handled it even if she had had the bath) bitch of a mother she so often tells me I am.

She sobbed on the couch, crying because she can't control how she feels, what she says or what she does, and she just cant take it anymore. She cries how she doesn't want to live anymore. She knows I don't like to hear it (because honestly who wants to hear a ten year old tell you this), but she can't help it. She's so stressed, everything stresses her out so much and she just can't cope. She wants to go back to the hospital.

So I ended up texting her dad on his work phone, telling him what's going on. He said to give her her pill and if she still wanted to when he got home, he would take her.

So, this is where we are, waiting for the social worker who's supposed to close our file today to do some wrapping up and fun activity stuff today, and waiting for daddy to come home. We've had a small talk about the importance of talking, and even another outburst. She said she can't focus on anything since taking the pill today and is currently upstairs, calling me, so we'll see what happens after dinner. Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Genetics or environmental?

I've been reading some online news articles about the link, or possible link, between mental health and genes. There are plenty of interesting things out there. I also read, while at the hospital waiting to see our Doctor, that there is proof the ADHD brain works differently than others. It's kind of neat to hear there is undeniable proof that ADHD is an actual things, and not, like many believe, some made up way to make kids conform to the ideal of perfect.

So, back to the gene thing, sort of.

Everyone has heard Sheldon Cooper's (Big Bang Theory) "I'm not crazy, my mom had me tested!". It kind of rings true for me, except I think I was tested too soon. Now, I don't know any of the details, all I remember is going into the children's mental health building at the hospital and being in a room, being asked a few questions, and a small table, maybe round. I think there was a two way mirror and the room was white. Though how much of that is a memory, and made up from all my years of TV, I don't know.

When I was a kid, preteen to I guess now, I had some issues. As a teen I was depressed, suicidal, impulsive and all kinds of trouble. In one argument I recall my mother calling me a sociopath, and though probably not her favorite moment, and maybe one she's forgotten, I often wonder if she'd been right. Not that I was a sociopath, and least of all a la Dexter Morgan, but perhaps if she had done something back then, things would have been different. Now, my main issue is focus. I just don't have it, and when I do, it's to the point of compulsion. I can't stop doing what I'm doing until it's done. I am still impulsive, and have a hard time handling emotions. I am my daughter, and she is me. That's about the scariest thing ever. I know what I went through, what I did to my mom, myself and others, and I can see kidlette heading that way too if she can't keep whatever grip she has on things. She's doing better and with each day i grow less and less fearful for her, but there's always that fear.

What's worse, I have the three year old, I worry he'll end up in this boat of issues too. I could just be seeing things that aren't really as bad as I think they are, he is a boy too, so rough and tough and loud are part of the package.

So as I mentioned my focus is non existent and I have plowed through three paragraphs only to go off on facebook and snack hunting and dinner making and dog peeing adventures for the forth, so I have lost my train of thought and desire to sit any longer.

My main point however, I do think there is a link between genetics and mental health issues.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sleep and black pens

My morning started with my poor little girl trying her damnedest to stay home and sleep in. Usually in these instances I eventually give in and let her sleep. It's not worth the impending explosion. She's often up until around 11-12pm, if we're lucky and she's had a calm but busy day, it's 10pm, but even then I think she's faking it and have seen her open her eyes to see if I have left. It's really not that late for a 10 year old, (According to the sleep people 9.25 to 11 is sufficient and she gets between 7 and 8hrs), if that 10 year old doesn't wake up every few hours. I hear her toss and turn and flop about, she gets up for a drink, or even a snack when she thinks I'm sleeping. God only knows if she goes back to sleep  right away or ends up reading once again. She enjoys sleep and is frustrated by her inability to sleep.

At 8:20 I went up to get her. We have someone working with us to help alleviate some of the stress and make things run smoothly, and she helped set a more flexible routine that has it so the kidlette wakes at 7:30am, but can sleep till 8am if needed, so 8:20am was really pushing it. I told the kid she wouldn't be sleeping the day away if she chose to stay home, she'd get to sleep in, but would have to do some chores to make up for it as she was able to go, just choosing not to. She seemed OK with it, until 8:33 when she came downstairs crying and slamming her bedroom the time I got my hands dried off (I do dishes so I have something to keep me busy otherwise I'd go get her sooner and things would explode) and to the front door, she had both socks on (Which is weird on it's own - she refuses to wear them) and was pulling on her boots. She was determined to go today. She needed to get something from school, something important.

I had to take her boot from her hand and ask her what was so important that she had to go. A black pen. She has been drawing comics lately and NEEDS a black pen to do it, and since she was unable to find any in the places she asked me to look, she knew we had none at home and had to go to school to get one. I had to explain to her she had no lunch made, and although her aunt accidentally stole mine on good Friday, it was part of a pair, and we had two similar to that set so there had to be at least 3 black pens in the house. Worst case scenario, we'd go buy some.

It seems so minor, a pen brought her to tears, but these things are important to her because they are one of the few things that calm her down, and we all need her to stay calm. She's like my mini, pink hulk, you wouldn't like her when she's angry.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ADHD Stigmas, rants, hopes and dreams

When most think of ADHD, they think of the loud running around can't sit still even if you nailed them to the chair boy. Most don't think of ADHD and girls at the same time. Mainly because people think of ADHD as a result of bad parenting, too much sugar, not enough outside time or exercise, food dyes, and expectations that children sit still, shut up and don't move.

Let me start by saying, I had to also change how I thought of ADHD and how it affected people. I too am guilty of judging parents with misbehaving kids, be it an ADHD child or not. Now when I see a parent, or parents with kids screaming or out of control and can tell they are a second from snapping and pulling out their hair I sympathize, and fight an unbearable urge to walk over and tell them I've been there too. I don't because had someone done that to me a year ago, I might of burst into tears or murdered someone with whatever produce was in my shopping cart.

It's a long road leading to diagnosis', and it's usually a lonely one. Luckily I have my other half, but even with him, it was hard to voice my feelings, how warn down I was, how I felt that everything we had been going through was my fault. Had I been a better mother, gone back to work sooner, stayed home longer, spoil her more, punish her more, differently, not at all. It all does go through your mind at one point or another during the process. It never goes away, it does change however when you learn, read and change how things are done in your home.

I still worry it's all my fault, what parent wouldn't? Especially with the internet troll, family members who know more than you, family trolls and people you confide in, and even your friends - they all know better than you do. Forget that you're living this life, that only you know what's been going on, what's been done to help, what you have changed, fixed, and are working on.

My daughter's been diagnosed as: ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) SAD (Social anxiety disorder) and GAD (General anxiety disorder). We have had this diagnosis for five months now for ADHD and ODD and only added the SAD/GAD last month.

Over the last six or seven years we have had weekly and sometimes daily phone calls home and at work, 3 multiday suspensions, countless detentions during school (she's a bussed student, so after school is not an option), countless trips to go get her during schooltime, three hospital visits and even a bus called in when she had a meltdown on the bus and they couldn't get her to quiet enough so the bus could take the other kids home. There's plenty more, things like hitting me, throwing things so hard she dents the walls in her room, hair cutting, suicide threats, overnight hospital stays, bruising on me, cursing, swearing, beating up a classmate... it's been a long run and much has been forgotten for the moment.

As much as we love her and things are certainly improving, we have gone through hell for this kid and still get it every now and again. We tried changing diets, changing discipline, adding sports, letting her destroy her room and even letting her throw her fit where she is and walking away. Nothing worked. Medication seemed to make it worse, she became more aggressive, anxiety was impossible to control, and she even had a few episodes I described as like a mental break, where she was scared and paranoid and she was darting around the room with her eyes and backed into a corner crying at me that someone was going to break in or she felt like she was being watched. In hindsight I should have stopped there, but the Doctor kept upping the dosage. We got to the halfway point with Biphentin before our Doctor left the hospital and we had to wait for another assessment with another Doctor.

We figured out it was the medication by accident one day. I forgot to give her her pill. She had a good day, so I skipped the second day... another good day. It went on for a week, good days, no pills when I finally mentioned it to the other half, he had noticed a change too. We went medication free for a month or so with only minor blips. I was thrilled. I never wanted to have to drug my kid, but if it meant she would have a normal life, I figured it was worth a shot.

She did seem to cycle her good, not really bad just frustrating and OMG, WTH is this moods so the fact that she was able to function for that long without any major incident was an improvement. Now that's not to say that 30 days was perfect and I had the daughter a mother dreams of, no, we still had our bad days, one or two major hospital threat induced fights, but everything was shorter. Instead of a 3 hour episode, it was half that.

The second Doctor prescribed Conserta. We tried it for two days, saw where it was heading and took her right off of it. My family doctor and I spoke and he agreed it would be fine. He doesn't prescribe them, so he may be biased. There really isn't enough information out there for me to justify trying every brand, every does. Half of these "break through" drugs aren't even as old as my kid for christsake, and that's a problem in itself.

I'm not anti medication per say. I think medicine has done some fantastic things, and will continue to. I just don't see the point in forcing my kid to take pills she doesn't want to, that don't have enough research into the long term effects, can make her anxiety worse, her ODD worse, stunt her growth and do god knows what else to her still growing and developing little body. When she decides to give it a try, and can better understand what changes it can make (good and bad) I will look into it again, or god forbid, we end up back at the hospital.

I fear what not medicating her can lead to, but I also fear we reach a point where we need it and the side effects it can cause. Have you ever really read all that crap??? You don't even hear about the horror stories... children who have to be tackled to stop them from throwing themselves in front on oncoming traffic.... urg, that one hit me hard. Having had my child tell me she wants to die was bad enough, I don't know what I would do if I had to stop her from trying... besides stopping her of course.

All in all, I can mostly handle the constant reminders, "Don't touch everything", "sit still", "Calm down", "Breathe"... and there are many. We are learning how to parent differently and tailored specifically to her. We have learned we can't always take both kids everywhere, but we still do (but know it's going to be tough), and most importantly we're learning how to help her learn to calm down. We're still trying to get her to understand that no matter the alphabet that she's been diagnosed with she is still able to be a happy, productive and wonderful person, that many famous actors, decorators, artists etc have all learned to master ADHD and she will too.

She is a fantastically creative little girl, she has no less than a dozen short stories, picture books and novels she is writing and reads a book a night, lack of sleep is not our friend, but she's learning how to handle it. I truly think that if she can harness this creativity and ADHD, she will be able to follow her dreams and be a writer, an artist, and anything else she puts her mind to.