Following Bunny Trails

“I don’t have ADD, it’s just that…OhLookAKitty!”


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College Attempt #1

In high school I slid by as a, pretty much, straight C student.   I listened in class and did well on tests, but hardly turned in any completed homework.  I have no idea why, now that i think about it; I had nothing better to do with my time.  My parents hardly allowed any TV, and I was on restriction most of my high school career because of poor grades.  I guess it’s just this lovely sanguine personality I was born with, this compounded with ADD, and you have a social butterfly who was perfectly content talking on the phone, sneaking TV,  reading novels or daydreaming in my bedroom.  I graduated high school when I was 17 and immediately went to a 4-year party school (completely unprepared for the work load) and partied my way right out.  (I have no regrets, I met my husband and many good friends for years to come!)   You see, my parents were very very (did I mention VERY) strict, and as soon as I felt that freedom after graduation, I ran with it!  I pretty much did what I wanted.  Of course, I was raised well, so I had my limitations.   I ended up leaving the college after two semesters, with hardly any transferable credits and several thousand dollars of student loan debt.  (Again, I regret not finishing a degree, but definitely do not regret my college days!)

The hubby and I dated for exactly one year before marrying.  We came to a point where we could no longer afford to maintain separate residences, and we couldn’t bear the thought of breaking our mothers’ hearts and living together pre-maritally.   We knew we wanted to get married, but we didn’t have the money for that either.  So we did what we thought was best, and we eloped.   He was in a fraternity at the time, and his frat “big brother” lived locally, and his dad was a judge.  We got our marriage license and were married 3 days after he asked me.  We married in the judge’s back yard, on the deck of his pool, and then celebrated afterward with a keg of beer that we weren’t old enough to even drink.  It was summer vacation, so only a few of our friends were still in town to help us celebrate.   We broke the news to our parents later.

Hubby still attended college and we moved into married housing on campus.   He was the station manager at the college radio station, which had just gone FM and was the hottest thing around.  Between weekends with frat brothers and his undying love and commitment to the radio station (which meant him getting up at all hours of the night and taking over the broadcast when the next DJ didn’t show up for his shift) hubby eventually started getting behind in his studies, and ended up not finishing his degree.   But I’ve got to give him credit, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up and he got a lot farther than I did in school.   He got a job at the local radio station and I worked as a home health aid (after all, my prospective degree was supposed to be something in the medical field, I knew that much at least.)  We stayed in the college town for a few more years, until the radio station put him on salary and ran him ragged for so many hours that we realized he was earning around $3.75/hr.  It was time to move on.

*Acknowledgments:

To my suitemates and the dormmates below me:   I’m sorry for all the noisy parties I subjected you to, while you were trying to get an education.

To my mother-in-law:  Thank you for forgiving me for stealing your firstborn and robbing you of your first wedding event for your children.  To my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, thank you for having big weddings that made up for us having robbed your mother.

To my mother:   Sorry for robbing you of your only child’s wedding, but you did get two super-cute grandkids out of the deal! (eventually)

To hubby’s frat brothers:  I promise you that we don’t blame you one Theta Iota for our not finishing college!

To my mom again:  Thank you for teaching me about the much-argued-over temperament studies, for without them I would have hated myself, and probably others, much more.   It fostered an understanding of different personalities, and why people are how they are.

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Going Back to School

Kindergarten, Buckeye AZ

Kindergarten, Buckeye AZ (Photo credit: Mennonite Church USA Archives)

Much has changed over the summer.  I wrote in the previous post about how busy it’s been, but it has also been a time of discovery.  I recently enrolled myself in the local junior college.  I have arranged my school schedule so that I will be in a classroom for only 6 hours a week.  (Which leaves me taking my Intro to Statistics class on line, yikes!)  When I tell people that I am going back to college, the first question out of their mouth is always, “how are you going to homeschool?”   Well, I’m not.   I really have mixed feelings about sending the boy back to school for Kindergarten.  There wasn’t the big growth and developement spurt that I had hoped would happen over the summer.  There wasn’t an amazing ADHD medicine or cure discovered, we tried yet another stimulant medication, and it made him not be able to go to sleep for two days.   I didn’t teach him to read, though we did some flash cards and he’s got his upper and lower case ABC’s down pat.  I read to him some of “The Magic Treehouse” series, and lots of nature books and magazines.  We did some rythem games, which are said to stimulate parts of the brain that need to be stimulated in the ADHD child.  But mostly, it was just summer vacation.  We were outdoors often, but the mosquitoes or the sun or the rain caused us to have plenty of days where we played too many video games, and watched too much tv.   I wasn’t as industrius with the boy as I had hoped to be.

In a way, I feel like I’m throwing my son to the wolves -so to speak- by sending him to the local public school.  Not that there is anything wrong with public school, I just am afraid that this year will be the same as last year, and he’s going to be spending more time outside of the classroom, trying to get himself under control, than actually sitting in the classroom and learning.   I am actually pretty stressed about it.  He is still the same squirmy, falling out of his seat over and over, can’t make eye contact or pay attention, kid that was unsuccessful at school last year.   The whole point of requesting the Positive Behavioral Assessment was to get the boy the help he needs to be able to stay in school for an entire day, and actually learn the criteria.  The results of the assessment were that he would have anywhere from 1/2 hour to 3 hours with a special education teacher every day.  I don’t feel that this will be enough, what will happen with the rest of the time?  All I know, is that my son has a right to an education, and I will push for the help that he needs.  The school is going to hate me.   I will be there on the first day of school, requesting a review of his education plan and requesting an Occupational Therapist to do a “sensory profile” on the boy.  (I am absolutely positive that he is very sensitive to noises, lights, large spaces, he has been since infancy… which is one of the reasons why I wanted to home school him in the first place.)

Why am I giving the public school system a try, rather then home schooling?  Social, social, social!  Many homeschooling moms would beg to differ.  There are all kinds of organizations for moms to get their homeschooled children with other homeschooled children.  I have researched and found some in our area, but I have not been able to contact any of these moms over summer vacation, so I am not positive that he will be able to have social interaction on a daily basis.  Over the summer I have slowly watched my son’s social skills decline.  I have watched him “build a bird’s nest” at the base of a slide and then proceed to yell at the children to not slide down the slide and ruin his nest.  It took me several minutes to convince him to build it out of the way, and to tell him that it’s not nice to yell at the children, and that the slide is for everybody.   Then he built the nest behind the slide and yelled at the kids that ran by his nest…*sigh.   The other reason is schedule, schedule, schedule!  I try to have us on a schedule, but I have found that when mommy and son spend every minute of the day together, son tends to buck up against mommy’s authority…almost constantly.  I have tried the sing-song voice, the “lets make it fun” technique, the “it’s 10:00, this is what time we do ___, every day,” and the offer of rewards.    I have found out that if it’s not fun for him, it’s going to be torture for me.  So for the time being, I am going to allow the trained professionals to do what they’re trained for.   Wish us all luck, I think we’re going to need it.


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Adding another food to the “Do Not Eat” list

We have had the busiest summer I can ever remember!   The boy turned six, we’ve traveled, we’ve had the flu, I’ve had jewelry parties, I’ve dabbled in cake baking, I’ve applied to the local college, etc.   We always enjoy traveling, but for the last three weeks the boy has had those tell-tale shiny eyes.  Along with the shiny eyes usually comes behaviors and difficulty sleeping.   It’s hard to detect behaviors on vacation, because we all tend to run around wearing loin cloths and being crazy when we’re camping and swimming and playing.  It’s hard to see sleep patterns when we don’t attempt to put our children down until our host’s children are ready for bed.   But once we came home and our schedules resumed, the ADHD symptoms were out of control.  Poor kid, I tried to have a conversation with the boy and it was like talking to Stevie Wonder!  He would look left, right, up, down, never stopping to glance at my eyes.  I saw him struggling and asked him to repeat a few things that I felt were important for him to actually hear.  He said, “I don’t know, can you tell me again?”  I’d tell him again and ask him to repeat.  He’d get it completely wrong.  I’d tell him again, but this time I would say a few words and ask him to repeat the words.   Wow, what is going on?  I haven’t allowed him to eat any dye, even on vacation.  His birthday cake was mostly white & natural colors, and the parts with food coloring were not served to the boy (let the other kids eat it- oops, not nice!)2013-07-05 22.52.19  So what is causing this?  I did some research on line, punching into the search bar the foods most consumed over the span of our vacation, and there it was.  TBHQ, short for tertiary butylhydroquinone, a food preservative used in McDonald’s chicken nuggets and other prepackaged foods.  Wow, my son and daughter consumed McDonalds chicken nuggets almost daily while on vacation!   What is this TBHQ, that seems to cause reactions in AHDH children?  Why, it is yet another “approved for human consumption” petroleum byproduct!

I understand that the FDA has tested the preservatives and dyes before approving them for human consumption.  I am not a consperecy theorist, I only know  what I am experiencng with my own child with rather severe ADHD.  And I see that my son is reacting to something that he is consuming, and once I remove these foods from his diet, he seems much more calm and better behaved.  According to the FDA, you should not consume more than 300+ McNuggets in any given day, it may cause nausea, dizzyness and confusion.  In other words, an infentescimally small ammount is allowed to be used in our foods.  But “I sees what I sees!”   We have removed products containing the preservative, TBHQ, for the last two weeks, and though ADHD is everpresent, the boy no longer appears to be compulsed to do and say naughty things as if he had no control at all.    In my opinion, if your child struggles with a disease or malady, it’s best not to exascurbate it.  No more McDonalds McNuggets for us.