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.