I’m really very laid back. Not a whole lot ruffles my feathers.
I’ve learned to pick my battles with myself, my husband, my children, and the world, for that matter. My social life has experienced enough attrition over the years (the fluff is gone) that it’s all love with my friends.
You know what you can’t do?
You can't mess with my kids. Period.
No one would mess with “Sissy”, my daughter. She’s tougher than I could ever dream of being. What attribute does she get from me? Once she opens up, you’re in for life unless you majorly F%CK it up. I’d give you another chance but not her.
My sensitive son is only beginning to understand some subtleties of relationships. He takes everything to heart, bleeds for others, and would give you the clothes off his back and my money out of his pocket if someone needed it.
Raising Matt was a daily challenge.
He’s also bright, charming, and vibrant but he’s different, too.
I knew it as did his teachers.
In first grade, Dr. C. said, “Our little lion doesn’t fit into this box called ‘school’. He’s a square peg. The problem is he has to get through it. In the end, he’ll be fine.”
“Are you holding him back?” I gulped.
“Heavens no. He’s too bright!”
Every time I’d see her over the next 13 years she'd ask, “How’s our lion?”
During 4th grade, our lion was officially diagnosed with learning disabilities that prevented his extremely intelligent brain from realizing it’s true capabilities, which is something we surmised all along. His mind worked differently. Imagine running on a treadmill set at 8mph, which is fast. It’s moving so quickly if you pause at all, you'd fall off. That's how fast his brain processed.
It also decided to mix things up at the same by changing the order of words and letters so when he saw “it”, “and” and “the”, they never looked the same the next time he read. His coping mechanism was to listen carefully because it was the only way to insure he'd catch everything, which became extremely unpopular with teachers who insisted on note taking.
I’m simplifying this but, in essence, this is what it was like.
We resisted medication in 4th grade choosing accomodations and modified nutrition first. In sixth grade, he had a complete breakdown in a “team” meeting that reduced him to tears. He begged for help. My heart was crushed as I watched him crumble before my eyes.
The only option left became medication because falling further behind wasn’t one with high school right around the corner. It was a blessing. The moment you realize your child’s brain is “unlocked” is one of the happiest days you’ll ever experience but it’s not without issues.
He couldn’t eat.
He couldn’t sleep.
His physical growth was a concern.
His stomach hurt.
But he handled himself in social situations better.
His grades dramatically improved when he remembered to turn in homework.
This seemed to be our academic answer.
This seemed to be our academic answer.
Doctors say kids usually grow out of the need for medicine. But when? He still wasn't growing. “Is it because he can’t eat?” we asked.
He waited to grow. We waited.
Then came the day he decided, “I’d like to try without it.”
“Ok.” Yikes! Not a great idea.
He began eating, gaining weight, and looking healthy. Yet we saw him slipping almost immediately. Finding a balance proved impossible. You can’t force pills down the throat of a 15 year old. I’ll admit to trying.
It took until mid-terms sophomore year for him to ask for them back. Defeated, his awesome doctor reassured him, “Matt, your brain just works differently. There’s nothing wrong with that.” God bless him.
Getting our kid, with attention issues and dyslexia, through high school became one of our greatest accomplishments (struggles) as parents. It took more support than I can accurately explain.
He was accepted into every college he desired and his confidence was brimming.
When he left for school, we warned him not to let anyone know he took medicine. In fact, guard it.
Freshman year, he was exhausted from not eating, little sleep and a weakened immune system due to lack of nutrition. He was sort of a mess. He decided to take himself off his meds, again. What he didn’t realize was the amount of sustained focus required for each and every class, tests, project and paper. He ended up calling the doctor himself to reinstate his prescription.
Funny thing about controlled substances, they can’t be faxed or emailed anywhere. A paper copy must be taken to a pharmacy. Identification is required. You can get it every 30 days and not a day sooner then the last time it was dispensed to you. And since he was home last weekend, I handed him his pills personally.
Today, he showed me the bottle with only 12/30 left explaining that someone stole 15 pills from his room.
It’s a crime to steal controlled substances.
It’s a felony to sell them.
My kid is slightly anxious by nature and already concerned about studying for upcoming tests. It’s not merely a crutch.
My solution is “It's against the law. Call the police!”
His idea is a 50 lb. safe because he doesn’t want to make waves and confront anyone.
I know. I know. He has to work it out himself but I’m still mad and I want someone to get in trouble.
It’s been a long road to get here and we don't need anyone else messing it up. We do that just fine on our own.