Within the first month of Ben’s elementary school career he was diagnosed with ADHD – combined type, which means not only does he have trouble focusing, he also has trouble sitting still or being quiet for long, or even short periods of time. Pretty much unless there is a video game controller, crayon, paintbrush or Lego in his hands he’s moving around, singing at the top of his lungs or laughing maniacally at nothing. Since the diagnosis, he has taken several different medications, different dosages and combinations of different medications with different dosages. I’m pretty sure any adult taking them would be disassembling and reassembling their vacuum cleaner just because. Basically, I went against everything I have ever said and drugged my child, bad mommy!
Cut to six months later and let me tell you…I am frustrated! More frustrated than October Road being cancelled and having no hope of ever finding out who that kids dad is! I am tired of the negative reports I get from his kindergarten teacher every day when I pick him up from school, just before she tells me he how much time he spent in the office that day. It really pisses me off that he is sent to the office on a daily and ends up missing out on valuable class time. And the teacher wonders why he is so far behind the other kids in his class. I am tired of the unanswered questions and not having the resources to figure out where to go and what to do next! I am not asking someone to hold my hand and skip through this wonderful world of IEP’s, 504 Plans, medication or support groups with me….just a little help.
I have a couple of amazing girlfriends who happen to have boys with ADHD as well. With their infinite wisdom and experience they have told me to get a good psychologist, find a good therapist, join a support group, communicate frequently with his teacher and most of all have patience. Patience with the teacher, with the Dr’s and most importantly patience with my son, who, let’s face it on some days drives me a kind of crazy that sends me outside with only a pack of cigarettes and a really large glass of wine to keep me company. Yes, I said that! Don’t judge me; I am sure you do the same you just keep it on the DL. It could be worse; I could be one of those loser moms who steal their kids’ meds, right? Right!
Most weekday mornings you can stand outside of my front window and listen to the nightmare that is getting out of my house on time. I’ve tried to wake up earlier, I’ve tried giving him extra time to wake-up and get moving, I even set his clothes out the night before to save some time but he inevitably hates whatever color the shirt happens to be and refuses to put it on or the seam in his socks it bugging him OR….this one is my favorite….decides that all clothing items should be put on OVER whatever pajamas he had on from the night before. I follow my own advice to him and when I think I am going to get upset I remove myself from the room, count to whatever # I feel is appropriate then come back and try again; sometimes it works and unfortunately sometimes it does not. This is a learning experience for all of us and I am trying my best to raise a happy, healthy, well adjusted young man who doesn’t grow up to hate me.
A few weeks ago I took the advice my girlfriends gave me and went to a new Psychologist who took Ben off of the ridiculously high dosage of stimulants he was taking daily and put him on a non-stimulant 2x a day as well as a low dose of a stimulant, which he takes only on school days. Granted non-school days can be a little rough but if he doesn’t have to sit still and participate in a structured environment why should he take it? I want him to be a little boy who makes friends easily, is well liked but still runs around like a tornado mowing down the plumbing in the backyard. Yes, this happened and yes, I had to pay a pretty little penny to the property manager to repair it. The new combo of medications allows him to eat like a normal 5 (almost 6) year old, play nicely, be calm and be able to maintain through his 4 hour school day. I know that medication is not the answer to everything and it’s going to take a long time to help him understand what ADHD is and how to deal with it as he grows older but the medication is a start.