Thursday, April 16, 2015

What Does ADHD Look Like for Us

The brain is the most complex organ of the body.  There are a great deal of things we still don't understand about it.  Our brains react differently to a situation as we go through different stages of our life.  That makes it very difficult task, even for medical professionals,  to pinpoint something that is out of sync in the brain.

ADHD is a well known term in the USA.  I believe that is is often over-diagnosed, or misdiagnosed.  Parents even claim their children are ADHD without a formal diagnosis.  This means that when you explain to others that your child has ADHD after he acts out of control in a new situation, they start to treat you differently.  You're looked at as one of those moms who simply can't control her child.  The mother is found to be lacking.

My Bumblebee is ADHD.  He has been formally diagnosed by a neurologist.  Bumblebee is a mixture of the two types of ADD: hyperactive and inattentive.  Here's why I sought the diagnisis, and what it looks like in him.

I looked to the doctor for help when he reached 5yrs old and barely recognize his own name.  I can work on a letter of the alphabet for an entire week in our homeschool and at the end, he still can't identify it, or tell me what sound it makes.  This makes him frustrated to the point of meltdowns.  And, I'll admit, it frustrates me as well.  I spoke to our pediatrician about a possible learning disability, and he referred me to the neurologist.

Dr. Jones is a wonderful and caring doctor.  When I went to her office, I expected to be told that Bumblebee was on the autism spectrum, just like his brother.  This isn't what happened.  She told me that beyond a doubt, Bumblebee has severe ADHD.

We chose not to medicate.  Understanding what you're up against can be half the battle.  This lasted until he started to become violent towards other children.  He wasn't intending to be mean, he simply acts as though there are no consequences.  And then when punishment is issued, he goes into disbelieving shock.

Hyperactive and inattentive  ADD war with each other.  For Bumblebee, this means that it is difficult for him to complete a task that helps get the energy out because he's distracted by something else.  He may be jumping on the trampoline when he sees the sidewalk chalk, and suddenly that looks like much more fun.

Getting dressed also takes a great deal of time.  Just yesterday, it took 30 minutes just to get a pair of pants and he tried to put them on top of his pajama's.   The shirt and shoes took another 20 minutes.

There is no fear of what his actions may do.  He will run into the street and be nearly hit by a car and doesn't understand why you are scared and angry.  Climbing to the top of a 6ft tall bookshelf and jumping off is nothing.

This is simply the tip of the iceberg with his behavior.  I'm am termed a helicopter mom, this means that Bumblebee doesn't lack for correction, or love.  Not all ADHD looks the same; but, the struggle is the real for them all

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Autism Awareness Day

It is April 2nd.  Autism Awareness Day.  So many people coming together to cure autism.  But there is something to consider; do people on the spectrum need to be cured?

So many look at the negative sides of autism without ever seeing the positive.  There are positives, many of them.  These special people will never fit into any box, so they must invent ways of helping them cope.  They are some of our greatest innovators and inventors.  They can see a need in places that others avoid.  When they find a passion, they can achieve a level of focus that "normal" people can only dream of.  And though a great deal of them have difficulty showing their love, their passion runs deep and is integrated into the core of their being.

Why do we want them to be like everyone else?  As I have said before, my oldest son has High Functioning Autism Disorder, or Asperger's.  He amazes me.  He is a great gift from God.  Before he was born I was told that I would NEVER be able to carry a baby to full term.  Why would I want to change what He gave me?  Yes, I try to teach him ways to function in a world that doesn't understand; but, I also show him ways that his differences make him special and unique.

I want to share 3 of the things that make my son so special and unique to me.  I would LOVE to hear how your child is special to you, even if they are not on the spectrum.

1 - Capacity for love.  Expressing his love took years, but it's there.  He is now very verbal about how much he loves his family.

2 - Logic skills.  He does algebra in his head and makes factual connections that would never have occurred to me.

3 - Focus.  There are very few subjects that hold his interest for long, but when he finds something interesting, he learns absorbs every piece of information he can find about it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Excuse me?

Kids don't always get their words right, especially at the age of three.  Lately, Lil' Bit has been coming up with some DOOZIES!

The other night, my hubby was putting the the little monster to bed and she asked for her "roofie".  Of course, she was asked to repeat the request.  She did so, acting like her daddy was a little slow; really, how could he NOT understand that she wanted her "Roofie".  I waited until he finally gave up and in a very confused voice, asked me where Lil' Bit's Roofie was.  I couldn't stop laughing as I handed him a blue kangaroo named "Ruby"!

This morning, her tongue was at it again.  Most mornings I make the kids oatmeal and they choose what fruit they want in it.  Lil Bit really likes frozen blueberries as they cool down the oatmeal as well as being super yummy.  Most days she will ask for her precious "booberries"; but not this morning.  Oh no, she about made me drop to the floor in shock.  "Mommy?  I want boobies".  Now I knew for a FACT that I hadn't heard correctly.  "Boobies?" I asked.  "Yes.  Boobies in my oatmeal" (insert cheesy grin).  Thankfully, that was something I could immediately provide.  It was at this point that C-Note burst out in unrestrained laughter.

From roofies to boobies, nothing is sacred.  I am scared and yet I look forward to hearing her next verbal faux pas.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Allergies and Eating Out

My sister is a chef; her husband is also a chef and general manager of a Marriott hotel.  They are fabulous when it comes to making allergy friendly meals.  They do have some advise for anyone that has dietary restrictions and eating out.  

Most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate any restrictions you have.  It is recommended that you call ahead! Remember that these places have a set menu, with set recipes.  It takes time to deviate from these recipes and get a good result.  Chef's are artists at heart, and do not want to serve you sub par food.  If you call and let them know a general time that you plan on eating at their restaurant, they will ensure that the food you need is available to you in a timely manner.  This also ensures that you will not get food that will cause you physical harm.

Are all restaurants willing to do this? Sadly, no.  But it never hurts to call and ask.  This will make things much more pleasant for you.  A simple phone call can increase the quality of your food and your time.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Preparing to move

We are currently in the process of buying a home with 15 acres of land.  While this is a daunting task, we have lived in 7 different homes in the last 12 years.  Fortunately, this time we are moving 15 minutes away from our current home.

The kids are extremely excited, but also nervous.  Even though the boys remember the last move, they don't like changes of routine or surroundings.  To help with what they should expect and when to expect it, I took their calendars and made notes one them.

We are doing a countdown to closing day, as well as when each room needs to be packed.  While this requires a little more planning on my part, it is really helping to keep them calm.  Before this plan existed, my head was about to explode.  "Mom, can I have a box?", "Mom, when are we moving?", "MOM!!! We HAVE to pack my room!",  "Mom, please don't leave my (insert favorite item of the moment)".  With another 46 days to go, lists are the only way to survive.

I feel like there are lists and charts all over the house.  Everything is regulated by lists and charts.  We even have a chart to tell us who's turn it is to sit in the coveted spinning chair for the day.  Yes, this inserts a lot of rigid structure that I never wanted, but the kids are happy, and we have more peace.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

No Whine Zone

I have declared my house a no whining zone.  I have reached the end of my sanity.  Bumblebee has gotten to a point that he will only talk in a whine and Lil' Bit is picking up his bad habits.  Trying to correct his behavior has met with little to no success. We have gotten to the point where something has to change.  I simply can't take it anymore.  I have reached a low.  My attitude has turned into that of a crazed maniac.  We all need to correct our behavior.  My kids can't improve themselves unless I do.  So, I have declared our house a NO WHINE ZONE.

Now this is not for the faint of heart.  It takes some serious discipline.  Not discipline over the kids, but over myself.  For this to work, my outlook, and attitude has to change first.  That means when when I've acknowledged Bumblebee pointing out something that is out of place 100 times, even if I -can't fix it, I must acknowledge it 100 more with patience.  When C-note it repeating a phrase over and over, I must do my best to calm the stimming while being calm myself.  And, when Lil' Bit has somehow found yet another unsupervised crayon/sharpie/pen and decorated my walls/furniture/floors that I don't yell, I simply help her clean it up....again.

Kids learn by example.  If I'm acting like a lunatic, they will too.  Though Bumblebee trying to firmly plant a transformer toy in another boy's head last night was NOT learned from me.

As you can see, this is going to require will of iron and control over myself.  The rest 'should' fall into place.  This change will not happen overnight, but it will change.  I'm in the trenches, my nerves are constantly under attack.  There will be bad days, everyone has them, but it is my hope, that those days become fewer all the time.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Food Allergies

We have a lot of food allergies in my house.  My biggest one is seafood.  Lil' Bit however, is allergic to wheat (NOT gluten), eggs, casein and whey.  As I've mentioned before, her reactions happen in the digestive system.  She will get lower back pain and every other symptom of a urinary tract infection.  Since she still wears a pullup while sleeping, she also gets small sores all over her behind.

When she was first diagnosed, our pediatrician recommended only pulling out all dairy, and checking labels for casein and whey.  That also means not just cow milk, but ANY milk from an animal.  We were also told to avoid coconut milk, as that has proteins that can mimic cow protein.  Luckily, Lil' Bit is a fabulous eater and only missed her cheese and yogurt.

We went on this way for several months.  Her symptoms almost went away, but not completely.  She hardly ever has eggs, so we knew that wheat was causing more trouble.  This was going to be tough.  We eat a LOT of wheat here.  Yes, we had limited hers, but now, what to do....

I am not a good cook. In fact, I despise cooking.  But, now I really don't have a choice.  Go to your grocery store, read some ingredient lists, things may be gluten and wheat free but rarely are they gluten, dairy AND egg free.  That is a very tall order!  You can even look at a package of taco seasoning and find whey, it's commonly used as a thickener.

Upcoming, I will be posting new recipes that will satisfy a wide variety of palettes while remaining as allergy free as possible.  It's is truly insane the differences in tastes in my house.  Recipes will include spice blends, mild main dishes that can be spruced up at the table per individual and allergy free items.  As I said, I hate cooking, so these will all be simple, yet tasty.