My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 3 seconds. If not, visit
http://issascrazyworld.com
and update your bookmarks.

CLICK HERE FOR BLOGGER TEMPLATES AND MYSPACE LAYOUTS »

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reality


When you look at her what do you see? Do you see her inner beauty? Her outer beauty? Do you see the little girl who gave away her gloves, scarf and hat to a friend who needed them? Do you see the independent spirit that believes she can rule the world? Change the world? Make the world a better place? Do you see the creativity that pores out of her all the time? Do you see the little mother in her who loves to sing her baby brother to sleep? The girl who spends hours trying to get her little sister to ride without training wheels? The girl who walks her dog around the backyard on a leash, because she can't handle the brute on the street? Do you see the athletic side of her, the side who can pick-up and play any sport? Did you notice the way she reads aloud? Like a twelve year old, instead of a just turned seven year old child? The way she does math in her head? The logical way she figures things out?

If you don't know her, you probably don't.

You notice the bouncing and the twirling. You possibly notice the incessant chatter. Maybe you notice how she interrupts people mid sentence, saying, I know and then moving onto the next thing. Her inability to finish a whole thought or story. You notice her inability to sit down for a whole meal. You might notice the tantrums, which are more prevalent in places like Chuck E' Cheese, Disneyland, holiday parties and crowded soccer games. They can happen any place really, where she has been over stimulated to the max. Maybe you've noticed the tapping of the pen, the clicking of the jaw, the twirling of her hair, the constant movement of her hands and feet, which at some point has either bugged you to no end or made you think she is doing it to piss you off.

Maybe you think it is lack of parenting on our parts. If we were harder on her, more consistent, more demanding, less demanding. More.

This is the face of ADHD. This is the reality of ADHD. Last week, we put Morgan on Adderall. We spent years and years going back and forth on medicating her. A hyperactive four year old is easier to ignore. I currently have a very active four year old. There are subtle differences in her behavior and Morgan's at that age. But to an outsider, a person in a store, a teacher, a relative; it can be harder to see. I know the difference, we point it out to each other all the time. but we are their parents. We've done many types of therapy: talk, play, art. We've done relaxation techniques with her since she was two years old. She can do them now herself and does, throughout her day. To make it through her day. Let me say that again, my child does relaxation techniques on herself, to get through her day.

We have tried vitamins, a non-sugar diet and Homeopathy. We taught her techniques to deal with her energy in times where she had to sit still. She jumps on our trampoline for almost two hours a day, just too work off the extra energy. A four year old who sits to color, but taps her fingers and moves her feet, is an accepted child. A seven year old who does it, is seen as a trouble maker, someone searching out attention, a child being a pain in the ass.

The reality is that the world sees my child as a pain in the ass. Not all people, not people who know her, not even people who have been around a child with ADHD and know the signs. But to the majority of people. People sigh when she asks too many questions, some people roll their eyes at her. She's had a few substitute teachers lately who have been down right horrible. And she knows it, she feels it all and it hurts her. Deep, where a kiss and a hug, or a few band-aids won't help. It is changing who she is. Making her second guess herself, but at the same time, she's already doing everything possible to stop it. So much so, that it's created a few ticks in the last few weeks. Ticks from trying to suppress the urge to jump and bounce in place. That energy then comes out in different ways.

There is a stigma as a parent, that comes from medicating your child. It is seen as the easy way out. That we couldn't hack it, couldn't deal with it, didn't know how to deal with her. This is a cop out. Not a cop out on me, but a cop out on the people who say it. Every child with ADHD is different, just as every child is different. Maybe all the other things worked with your child. For this I am thrilled for you, but for me, for her, it didn't work.

Truly, we didn't medicate Morgan for us. We can handle her, we can deal with her. We're used to the symptoms, the different ways of parenting, the ADHD. For us, it's not a huge deal. The ADHD isn't her, it's a small portion of who she is. Just like I am partially blind in one eye and my husband is dyslexic. A part of us we can't give back, a part of us we had to learn to life with. But it doesn't define us and we don't want ADHD to define her.

Don't get me wrong, it has been a long time to get to this point. If I was going to medicate her for me, I'd have done it 3 years ago. Logan would have done it 5 years ago. We didn't put her on Adderall for us, we did it for her. I can't have my child trying to suppress who she is, not now, not ever.

Let me repeat it, we put her on medication for her. Because she is our daughter, our first born, one of the three lights of our life. We want the world to see what we see. The little girl from the first paragraph. The loving, caring, giving, creative, independent child who is currently lying underneath my Christmas tree with her footed Jammie feet sticking out; singing I'll be home for Christmas to her sister. Our daughter. Our Morgan. This is why we put her on Adderall. For her.

So to you lovely asshat who made the accusations in my earlier post, that I am poisoning my child; I hope you can see the facts. Saying that there are other ways to deal with ADHD and meds are poison is a generalization. A gross generalization to make me feel bad about my choice. Your way works better, I am the one poisoning my child, this is simply not true. Life is not so black and white, it's more of a lovely shade of gray.

Like my friend Kim said in the comments, some see giving antibiotics as a horrible thing, others see not doing it as a horrible thing. Please don't go around flinging bags of flaming poo at people without the facts. Try and remember, your way isn't the only way. My child isn't your child. Mine needed to try this. For her self esteem and security in who she is, more than anything else. At first I was so angry and now I'm just sad. Sad that people can be so close minded when it comes to life. Sad that people can't see that my way can be just great, if it works for me, but your way might be great too. Sad that my baby has to go through this. Sad that anyone would look at her and not see how amazing she is.

I'm just sad.

27 comments:

AMomTwoBoys said...

BEAUTIFUL post, Issa. No one could have said it better. Morgan is lucky to have such amazing parents.

laughingatchaos said...

Wow. Well said. We went through this a few years ago before we put A on meds when he was five. It was a three year decision, after a full year of finding something, anything else. Meds have been wonderful for him. They help him focus his incredible mind. I have never regretted for a minute putting A on ADHD medications, I only wish they didn't tamper with his appetite so badly. But I know what you're saying, I could have written every word.

Kirsten / Mama Ginger Tree said...

Well said. Very well said. Hopefully someone will read this and not be so quick to judge the child they see in the grocery store or at the soccer game or in their child's classroom who can't seem to sit still.

It's sad that someone made you feel you need to defend your choices, but I bet some other mom or dad will read this recognize their child or their family and feel comforted.

iMommy said...

You did what your child needed. Sometimes, medication is necessary.

As I like to say... we are all entitled to our opinions, so I'm entitled to believe [that asshat] was DEAD WRONG.

:)

Kim @ Ponytaildiaries.com said...

Don't be sad, Issa. Look at it this way, you and I and the other parents we talk to on the net are VERY lucky. We have a unique ability to "change the world" for real. We're raising the change. We're showing them by our actions and by our honesty that it doesn't matter how someone else does it. Freedom is for everyone.

I've started holistic treatment in some areas of my life and in the children's as well. And I swear you would think I had told someone I was at home making witches brew. It's insulting and annoying. But people generally feel like they have to 'explain' why they are right or it will suddenly not be true and their entire belief system will just crumble all around them.

Oh, that said? Squeaks IS on an antibiotic. And? I still have xanax in my med cabinet. Right next to my magnesium supplements. And I'll take them just however the flipping hell I'd like.

You stand tall, lady. You're being proactive for your girl. And THAT is what is important.

Kim @ Ponytaildiaries.com said...

Oh, and I totally get the thing about how you feel others might feel. I've gotten to the point that I tell the girls, "Those people? Aren't worth it. People with an ounce of decency would be far more interested in finding out who you are. Pay no mind to the rest of them."

It's so sad that someone would judge a child that way. A child. I mean what the hell? Makes me wonder about those people's upbringing. Maybe they needed more hugs. Or parents who gave a shit enough to get the stick removed from their asses.

Maura said...

I'm sad that the asshat made you sad, and sad that I'm the one who got to give you the news that she had done so. (Because we all pretty much know she's one of those judgmental moms who knows what's best for everyone else.)

You wrote a beautiful, heartfelt post and I'm glad you were able to get it off your chest, since you know that you've done what you needed to do for your child.

flybunny said...

I tried to leave you a comment on your post earlier but apparently it did not take. My take was essentially wishing that Anon-a-ass gets a stocking full of adderall laced poop in their stocking.

This is absolutely beautiful and also a good reminder for me to look at the positives in my own child which lately have been hard to come by.

And one thing on her being more emotional, some meds have a ramp up period that can cause emotional responses as the body adjusts. Hopefully it will be better soon.

SUEB0B said...

Great post. And asshats can #suckit.

debra said...

Beautiful post, Issa. I think Morgan is very lucky to have two parents who care about her so much.

Funny thing, I wrote a similar themed post today. But my topic isn't nearly as important or as heartfelt as yours.

*hugs*

wheelsonthebus said...

there are other ways to deal with cancer than chemo, too.

what a moron.

Jaden Paige said...

I'm sorry someone made you feel like you had to defend your decision. Nobody knows what is right for your family more than you do.

What an ASShat.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!! Morgan is lucky to call you her Mommy...

PsychMamma said...

Wonderful, beautiful post about your wonderful, beautiful girl. I think it's amazing that you took someone's callousness (from the previous post) and turned it into something lovely. Your words helped me know your daughter and your struggle, and will hopefully help someone else who might be going through the same thing. Thanks for sharing.

Rock and Roll Mama said...

Wow, Issa. I feel you on this- we walked a very similar path with ,y oldest. OT, homeopathy, no dyes, no HFCS, sleep studies...nothing was enough to let HIM function in the world in the way that was meaningful for him.
He's been on meds for 3 years now, and they have made a world of difference for him. I read a NYT article last summer talking about how medication is the easy way out for lazy parents, and I was furious. These people have no idea. Keep doing what you're doing, sister. Which is loving your girl amd looking out for her, and looking at the big picture. There's always going to be critics. You're awesome.:)

Delusional Girl Ruby Soho said...

I know you have been struggling with this decision and it was not an easy one. I am very proud and happy you have chosen something that works for YOU. You and your family are the only opinions that matter, everyone else can STFU.

Insta-mom said...

Bravo. I am going to have to write about my big guy and link to you. Because ADHD has so many faces, and they deserve to be faces that are understood.

Childsplayx2 said...

First, beautiful post. And I am truly in awe of that little girl!

Second, as parents we shouldn't have to write posts like this defending our choices. All we want is best for our children and someone looking in from the outside (even doctors!) cannot make that choice better than we can.

Lisa said...

Oh Issa. You are so right on the mark.

I want to slap people who say the meds are an easy way out for parents. My son's meds wear off by about 3 each day (and he only takes it on school days). He's on something that lasts about as long as the school day. But he's needed it. He's still active. But at least he can focus. Am amazed at how much better he's doing in school.

Like you said, it is just a small part of her. And over time she'll learn how to adapt.

People who make judgements on something they don't live with or understand really pisses me off -- especially when its not THEM who's tried everything under the sun and is using meds as a last resort.

Please know you've got a bunch of us who've been there (or are there) who support you. And your daughter.

Miriam said...

This is a gorgeous post. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life in a real way.

Parenting isn't for "wussies," we always say. We make the tough choices in the very best way we can and hope it's the right thing.

Sounds like your daughter is lovely.

Shonda Little said...

Beautiful post. Unfortunately parenting doesn't come with an instruction book. My parents used to say that to me all the time and I thought it was the most ridicules saying, that is, until I had my own kids. We do the best we can, we are all in this together.

Becky said...

i think you did the right thing and screw anyone who thinks otherwise.

Karen said...

Great post!

As a mother who just put her 8 year old on medication for ADHD after thinking long and hard about it and doing countless hours of research on the subject and seeing more specialists than one should see in a lifetime, I applaud you for standing up to the asshat!

MarvelousMOM said...

This is a beautiful post and now I wish that I could be around your daughter for just a day or an hour.

That commenter was an ass and I think how you handled it was perfect and very mature. Everything you said hit home and was perfect.

Thank you for sharing.

Danielle said...

This brought me to tears. So wonderfully written. Great job. May she never supress who she is and always walk confidently.

Angela said...

this post was wonderfully written. and even as a nanny, teacher, lover of all children of all abilities, but not a mother, i can understand your decision and respect that you did it for your daughter and NOT for her teachers or even for you

i wanted to add one little thing though, in defense of those substitute teachers. morgan may have been hyper (hey, you established that right?), but you want to know who is at fault in that situtation? not the sub. morgan's normal teacher, who i can just about GUARANTEE wrote in her sub notes something about morgan being hyper and x being a good helper and all kinds of notes that make it impossible not to look at a child in judgment upon walking into their classroom. i learned quickly to either overlook those notes, or take them with a grain of salt. because you know something? it's not usually those kids that end up being the problems/helpers, it's the ones NOT commented on.

and this has turned into a really long comment. sorry!

katy (aka funny girl) said...

I came over today from Anymommy and I'm so glad I did! You are singing my song, sister!! I have a 10 year old who has been on meds since she was very young. You have beautifully articulated what it's like to parent a child with severe ADHD. And to the Asshat? Go to hell.

mmc said...

I'm 20 and I have ADHD. I've gotta say, this is a fabulous post. You are so clearly doing right by your daughter.
The tapping of the pen, the clicking of the jaw, that's me. The sitting to do something but still moving, I do that. You have totally summed up how people see it.
I don't know what happened in regards to your posting about medication because I just found you, but I had a few thoughts. The adderall seems to turn a switch on in my brain. I can get distracted and not even notice. I can spend five or more minutes inside my head and have no idea what is going on around me. When I take adderall it happens less. My attention is sustained for longer. I can organize my thoughts better because I can actually follow a train of thought without getting distracted.

I work with a 10 year old boy who is medicated for ADHD. On the days he forgets his meds he hides from his friends. He doesn't want them to see him, as he puts it, "unable to control his body". The meds make SUCH a difference in his ability to socialize. They allow him to sustain attention enough to play, to make friends, to control impulsive behavior. I've seen the difference in so many kids once they start meds. Their self esteem goes up.

Your daughter is lucky to have you.