Click HERE to read how you can explain ADHD to your child from a strengths perspective!
Having a son with ADHD and then having a younger son that does everything his big brother does well, you see where this is going. Impulsiveness begets impulsiveness. It makes life interesting. And it really puts a wrench when we go to places and do things that are unstructured and can be overstimulating, like church. Now imagine church in a movie theatre. Yeah. So every week it feels like I am fighting a battle. Every week we have to go over the same rules. I have to be "on top" of the impulsivity. It can really be exhausting.
My expectations have to do with control. I want to control my children. I want them to listen. I want them to keep their hands to themselves. My brain knows why Carter has the need to touch everything, but the mom in me just wants him to stop. I want them to do what I say. I want them to act a certain way in public. I want people to think that I am a great mom. This is a common issue that I have to deal with quite frequently. And it's mine. I own it. Basically, I am giving myself anxiety. Over things I can't control. I long for my oldest to be still. For him to walk with us and not run impulsively away from us. To ask before he does something, to sit at the dinner table and stay there. To understand consequences and to understand that just saying your sorry doesn't instantly make everything right, it's not a pat answer that fixes all the messes. I want him to walk in a straight line without hopping, skipping or jumping all the time. I mean, he's 8. Why can't he do that? Why can't I make him do that? How do I help him learn to control himself. I mean, it's a life skill, right? I am a therapist. I teach kids and families about feelings, behaviors, impulse control yet I am challenged by these behaviors every day. Does anything I try and teach him stick?
God pretty much teaches me every week that I just need to let go. And last Sunday he was teaching me to let go of straight lines, perfect walks, the messes, the broken toys, mannerly communication with others in public, and the hope of asking before doing (ha). To just let go of my expectations.
And with that, the anxiety left. It wasn't long, though, before I picked it back up again when Carter wouldn't listen to my request to stay by my side and when I pulled him away from the water fountain to "consequence" him. To prove my point. To show the others around me that, I am trying. I am trying to control the behavior. I could see the anger in his eyes. He just wants to do what he wants to do. I have to teach him that there are limits. There's nothing wrong with that....it's just that my expectations are usually centered around what other people think, and that is not Carter's responsibility. So why am I punishing him for something that I created? I just wanted him to be still and stay by my side. But, we are in a movie theatre. Big open spaces, lots of hallways to run through. buttons to push on doors to make them open. I mean, for an 8 year old, ADHD boy this place is heaven. Add a four year old into that mix and I. get. overwhelmed.
He's not going to stand still. He can learn the rules....no running, but right now, he's going to dart ahead. Jump to the water fountains and well, that's ok. Because sometimes I just need to pick our relationship over my expectations that he's never, ever going to meet. And how frustrating for an 8 year old little boy to have to suffer through, whether he has ADHD or not.
The more I try to make Carter conform at age 8 the more he resents me. I'm not talking about discipline matters. We discipline, we have structure, rules and rewards. But staying on him for things that are just expectations of good behavior, those are the things that rob the joy out of our relationship. Do I really need to stay on top of him for every little thing? No. Just let it go.
It's a fine balance. And I have sucked at it lately and I can tell from our relationship it is affecting him. It's time to pick battles. Let things go. We both need our emotional love tank re-filled and I see glimpses of that happening. We had a great weekend in Chattanooga over spring break and I really tried to just enjoy my boy. Tell him how much I love him. Praise him. Point out what he is doing good. Tickle him. Ruffle his hair. Stroke his cheek and tell him that I am so glad that he is mine.
Enjoy the good times. Stay in the moment. Take is one day at a time. Breathe. That's all I can do and am trying to do.
Do you let your kids go a week without a bath?
Do you completely forget about costumes, cupcakes and school projects until the day before ( or of-- yikes!!)
Store bought valentines box AND Valentines??
Do you wait and see what everyone else is bringing to the class party so that everything is either taken or you just have to grab some leftover plates and napkins from the last party?
Not change your kids underwear every day?
Have they been wearing those same pair of jeans for yet another day because the laundry just hasn't seem to do itself?
Kids teeth go unbrushed for a couple of days?
Throw away yet another cookie sale form?
Forget a deadline?
Then this post is for you. You rock! It's okay. Kids aren't going to remember this stuff. You haven't let them down. You love them, spend time with them. Kisses and snuggles will win out on the best costume every time.
So, lay the guilt aside. Go have fun with your kids. Go buy the store bought cupcakes. Recycle the costumes, store bought, nonetheless.
I have come to terms with the fact that there will always be those mon's out there that "do" more than I do. More creative. More homemade. More cookie sales, and yes, I'm bitter. But I have to remind myself It. Just. Doesn't. Matter.
And if you are "that" mom that does all the above, kudos to you. I'm really trying not to be jealous and post passive-aggressive comments under your pictures. Forgive me. Just show me love and grace for I am just jealous of your awesomeness. Seriously, you rock too.
Because it is what it is. And nobody is better than the other.
In the end, we love our kids the same, we just show it in our own unique way. And that's ok.
So, I will not think about the fact that I sent my kid to school with only his Dr. Suess hat ( that he wore Wednesday) to finish up Dr. Suess week. Yeah. I still rock. And you do too!
Today, I specifically thought about an early February nine years ago. I was pregnant with our first child. I honestly didn't think that I could get pregnant, even though I had no reason to think that other than I was older and overweight. I went from utter shock in learning that we were pregnant to being overjoyed...and a little queasy.
Anyway, I will never forget it. We hosted a Super Bowl party with our Sunday school class, who I had shared our awesome news with. We had told our family. I wasn't even 8 weeks pregnant yet. The next day I was scheduled to have the first ultrasound to date the pregnancy and hear the heartbeat.
We went in for our scheduled appointment. We went through the entire ultrasound and I wondered why we couldn't see the heartbeat.The technician didn't let on until she had gathered all the information she needed for assessment and then she let us know that she was sorry, but she didn't see a heartbeat.
It was a pretty ugly scene. I may have screamed. I know I was crying and inconsolable. Poor Greg. He was also in shock and was trying to comfort me. I'm sure we asked questions. I can't remember now what they were. The tech left us alone for a while. I got dressed and we waited to see my doctor's nurse. They gave us options on what we could do. I was so in shock that I couldn't do anything but go home.
By now you are probably wondering what this has to do with Valentine's candy. Well, in the next few days, my mom came to be with us. I couldn't decide whether or not to have a D and C. And in between there, I ate Valentine's candy. I remember going into Target and seeing all the Valentines displays and bought a big box of chocolates. And proceeded to eat them all.
I had lost a lot of weight previously so, even though they weren't asking why, I told my mom and my husband that for now, I was going to eat candy. I was going to be fine, and I wouldn't keep eating candy, but for the next few days, I was going to eat as much candy as I wanted. LOL.
By the end of the week I decided to have a D and C and after one more sonogram to ease my mind and to make sure that our little baby indeed had no heartbeat, the procedure was done and the rest is history.
I think I ate another big box of candy after the procedure. I'm sure I shared. Maybe.
I have absolutely no reason why I remembered that today. I think I probably remember it every year, but for some reason today I needed to write about it.
Greg and I have gone on to have two healthy children (along with two more, just as devastating, miscarriages in between). I have had more vaginal ultrasounds than I ever care to remember. Lots of bloodwork. I am glad that the fear and anxiety that always followed finding out I was pregnant is behind us. No more holding our breath through the first trimester. No more "procedures". No more loss in the baby department.
But today, as I bit into my little Russell Stover treat, I just happened to have my breath taken away from a memory of a hope that turned into a loss and a left a lot of tears and questions behind it.
And the memory of that time flooded back as if it was yesterday and I felt compelled to write about it.
I guess there is always room for processing grief and today was my day.
I was the only one of my friends who was actually able to snag an If: Austin registration. It sold out in like, 2 hours. Crazy. But, with no friends going and fitting the hotel bill on my own, not to mention the flight down to Texas, I decided to stay local.
Is anyone else attending an If:Gathering local event??? Look on my sidebar for details on how you can get in on the action before it's too late.
I want to see you there!!!!