From Fear to Eternity

The past couple of nights have been wild at my house, y’all.  Last night, Will was working late.  The children were “playing.”  I say it that way because “play” consisted of Stella smearing herself with makeup again, reenacting Wrestlemania with Felix between applications.  There was even hair-pulling, wedgies, and sucker-punches with foreign objects.  Luckily, we don’t own any folding chairs.  My living room was coated with bronze sparkly powder.  I was afraid to take a shower.  That’s kind of dumb.  My kids are 4 and 6.  I should be able to take a 5 minute shower without fearing that someone will be impaled with something.

Yeah, Dude. Sometimes I just wanna run away, too.

I’m constantly assessing the hows and whys in my world.  The only explanation I can come up with is that school is out.  Our routine has kind of been exsanguinated.  This terrifies me.  The whole camp situation terrifies me.  I’ve gone to being excited about the cool stuff she’ll be doing/learning this summer (swamp camp, art camp, zoo camp) to sphincter-tightening fear.

I took Stella by the library before we picked Felix up from playschool yesterday.  She was acting completely bonkers.  I wanted to sign her up for the library’s annual summer reading program.  Another mom and daughter were in front of us, and sure, they were being ridiculously high-maintenance, but that was no excuse for Stella’s whining, twirling around (nearly kneecapping high-maintenance mom), and what appeared to be some variation of twerking.  It was embarrassing.  I almost had to drag her out.  It didn’t get better.  As we checked out our books, she acted like a spazz.  They librarian looked at us kind of funny, to which I made some smart-ass comment about the ADHD being strong today.  He said he understood, and that he used to be a special ed teacher.  I didn’t know whether to hug him or hit him in the throat.  I wanted to scream that she had just make principal’s list for the 3rd time in a row.  Special ed my ass.  So there.

I joke about a lot of stuff, and maybe I joke at inappropriate times/things. That’s my coping mechanism (since I can’t obviously drink wine at 7:30 AM or at 3:30 PM at the library).  I got that humor from my dad; you learn to laugh or you lose your shit.

Most days I’m able to say to myself “it’s only ADHD.”  Then there are days – weeks- like I’m getting now.  The reality is, as much as I hate to admit it, shit is different for us, particularly during intervals such as summer.  Other parents don’t have to worry so much about camp staff understanding this diagnosis, and being prepared to intervene if a kid just feels too damn much and loses it, or to make sure that a kid on meds is drinking enough liquids in the 90 degree heat, even if they don’t want to or realize they need to.

It also occurs to me that Stella and I have not had the talk yet, about how she’s different than other kids.  She knows her meds help her stay calm during the day and not yell so much.  Will doesn’t think we should rock the boat.  I think she needs to start understanding a bit more- that she’s old and certainly smart enough to get it.  I tend to defer to Will’s judgement on this stuff, as he’s been on that side of the librarian’s desk.

Anyone out there have any thoughts on this?  When did you tell your kid?  And what in the hell did you do with your kids during the summer, that time where most households can relax into the world of the unstructured – the very thing that can tear yours apart?

The horizon – equal parts fear and beauty


About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
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13 Responses to From Fear to Eternity

  1. Sarah Macon says:

    My oldest (7) is ADHD and takes meds. When we first went to the doctor and talked about it she had some reservations, said she didn’t NEED medicine. I told her to think about it like this, people that need help hearing wear hearing aids, people that need help seeing wear glasses, this is like glasses for your BRAIN. She was thrilled with that analogy and still says “got to take my medicine! Got to put my brain glasses on!”

    • larva225 says:

      Yes, we’ve had a similar discussion. Way back when we asked if she would like meds, she asked “will it make me stop screaming (she had a rough year in kindergarten)?” Since then, she gets that the meds help to calm her down. I guess I’m struggling with the lack of self-awareness as they wear off during the afternoon. I kind of need her to get that, you know?

  2. gracieonmars says:

    I told my son about his diagnosis right before he started first grade. I used the analogy that his brain is like a race car, it goes really fast. And that his meds were like motor oil for his super fast sports car to help it run smoother. I honestly don’t think he paid any attention lmao. Just the other day I was talking about his ADHD and he said, “What’s ADHD?” He is about to finish 2nd grade.

    • larva225 says:

      Stella’s going into 2nd but is pretty young (late September bday). That doesn’t help matters. I just want to make her somehow more self-aware so that she can regulate herself better.

      • gracieonmars says:

        I have heard they have some good books written for kids with ADHD that explains the symptoms. For my son, he has been in day treatment for three years and is now in intensive treatment. So, I am lucky. He is always being given skills around emotion regulation, frustration tolerance, and self-soothing. It doesn’t mean he always uses them though. You are right, I think self-awareness is important. I always tell him that I know it is harder for him when he doesn’t have his medicine but that he is still responsible for his behavior and making good choices.

  3. Erika says:

    Good luck with the camps ❤

    We were open with Little Man throughout the testing process, which started in 1st grade for him. He wanted to know what was going on and we told him what the docs were considering. We were sure to let him know that there's nothing wrong with him, just that his brain works differently. I also gave a kid friendly rundown of how *my* brain works differently, which helped. For now he pretty much wears it like a badge of honor. He believes that ADHD contributes to his intelligence and outside-the-box thinking, so he has embraced it as being part of what makes him, him.

    • larva225 says:

      I do wish my husband could/would talk to her more for that very reason. He can understand her in ways I can’t. He had a rough time of it growing up, however, so it’s a nerve with him. I’d like to take a similar approach you did.

  4. joey says:

    I maintained structure for my ADD kid, and still do for my non-ADD kids now. > IIIIII < fall apart without any structure. We didn't have to tell him, the doctor did. Something about how his brain's wires were faster than most and how awesome that is for certain things, but he needed a slower connection for other parts of his life.
    Like E's Little Man, Bubba seems to take pride in his ADD brain, and he's 24 now.
    I wish you luck, always 🙂

  5. Andrew says:

    My daughter doesn’t have ADHD, but does have ODD. It’s an odd-bird where she defies most things (usually the opposite of what we want) regardless of the consequences to her. Low does meds help along with strict structure. Too much “screen” will always set her off. A tone too calm will make it worse, just like a tone too harsh will also make it worse. I feel like I’m on a tight rope sometimes trying to keep a balance between calm and harsh. I get yelled at regardless and my wife loses her s**t a lot quicker than I do. The daughter is now on week 3 of a 5 week denial of iPod screen and, on the outside, literally doesn’t really care. She’ll get it back at the end of June, use it for 2-3 days, then do something that gets it taken away again for a few weeks. This long response and I don’t think I’ve offered any advice, which unfortunately, I don’t have much. I try to be consistent, always, when dealing with her when she goes batcrap crazy. Consistent responses in my experience establish a structure making it easier for them to understand that doing “this” means suffering “that”. My long standing hope is she makes a choice where she doesn’t have to experience “that” into the future.

    • larva225 says:

      We have the same issue with Stella, who also deals with ODD (largely helped by the meds). She doesn’t outwardly react to the “customary” consequences, either. Losing her iDevice, computer, etc bothers her about 5 minutes and then she moves on. Makes it difficult!! Glad I’m not alone!

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