Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 1

No - not day 1 of a cycle. Those days are over. But I'll get to the meaning of the title in a bit.

So much for my intentions of writing all about our adventures with ADHD and how I felt about it. Though that might change, only time will tell. We have had a few appointments with a psychologist to discuss how we can help Lucy and on Friday we meet with her teacher. Fortunately, right now we don't really see much in the way of a negative impact. In general, she's an active, happy girl who does well in school. But of course we did notice some challenges - hence the assessment and diagnosis. Right now our biggest challenge is to teach her some skills now so that when school or other activities get more demanding she'll be able to handle it. Clearly this will be a work in progress. And, because things are going well right now, we had her stop taking the medication. We realized after a few weeks that it was a gross overreaction given where she is right now.

In other news, I AM taking a new medication. Today was the first day and I'm finding it hard not to feel disappointed that I don't feel suddenly different. Stupid, but true. Anyway, so for some time now, even before we started thinking of having Lucy tested, I wondered if I might not have ADD myself. Once we started looking into having Lucy tested and I started doing more reading on it I became more and more convinced that I should have myself assessed as well. So I called around and searched on the internet and it's hard to find someone who deals with this in adults AND takes any insurance. Given all the other stuff on my plate and the potential cost I just let it drop. But it remained in the back of my mind because I feared it would be incredibly difficult for me to help Lucy if I didn't get this stuff figured out for myself.

Two weeks ago I attended a 3-day leadership training course which included a one-on-one session with a personal coach, who happened to be a psychologist. The course and the session were fantastic and one of the things that came out of my session with the coach was a referral to a psychiatrist and a strong suggestion to deal with this, since she seemed to think I was probably right about having ADD myself. So, money be damned I made an appointment. I've had two appointments with the psychiatrist -- whom I really like -- and left the last one with a prescription for Wellbutrin. I started it today. Taking that pill seemed so momentous this morning. So far all I feel is mildly foggy, which may or may not have anything to do with the medication. Had I actually thought about it, I probably would have realized that things wouldn't turn around immediately, but I didn't really think about it in those terms.

Even though I tend to tell everyone everything, I figured this might be something I should not announce to just anyone. This seems to me to be a pretty good place to get out my thoughts and feelings about all this safely. And to document whether or not it actually helps.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Big Sis

still loves her baby brother and often thinks he's the cutest thing around. But considering the frequent hitting, biting, grabbing episodes sometimes begs me "can I please hit him, please?"

She's suffered a few bites, more than a few scratches, and even a hardback book to the back of the head, so it's hard to blame her. Nevertheless, most of the time she's a wonderful big sister and my biggest complaint is the overexuberance of their playing. There's a lot of piggybacks, jumping, bouncing, rolling, etc, involved when they play.

It's fun to watch, but the more worked up they get the more likely it is that Ben will end up going to far and Lucy will end up mad and in tears. I suppose we should be really grateful that she hasn't ever actually hit him back or hurt him in anyway. Usually she just cries or yells for us to come get him. Considering the differences in their sizes it's actually pretty amazing. One day recently I ran into the room to find Ben sitting on Lucy's head. I mean really she should easily be able to dump him off but I think deep down she really doesn't want to hurt him.

As I mentioned 2 posts ago my girl has been diagnosed with ADHD and she started medication this past week. I do plan at least one post on all that soon, but the short story is she's handling the whole thing with great nonchalance and so far has experienced no side effects from the medicine.

As Lucy gets older she just becomes more intensely Lucy. She remains interested in all sorts of activities and would probably try everything if we had the time and money to let her. This past school year she contined taking tap and ballet and started playing soccer. She also (much against her will) attended math tutoring sessions twice a week and in the fall she also swam every Sunday.

Ballet Recital: Skater's Waltz

Tap Recital: Stray Cat Strut

On the Soccer Field

She's on the swim team this summer and will be attending a week of drama camp and then 2 weeks of soccer camp late in the summer. She also wants to join a chorus and learn to play piano and flute. Just listing her interests tires me out! Obviously we can't fit it all in so we'll be having a sit down soon to plan out next year's activities.

Relay Start

She continues to devour books and reads constantly. She loves to draw and sing. Most of all she loves to be with her friends and attended and hosted a TON of sleepovers this past year. Most of Lucy's friends are very nice, but her best friends are similarly "energetic". Actually, I generally don't mind the playdates and sleepovers because they are at an age where they usually want to play alone in her room or outside so it actually makes my life a bit easier.

She spending the swim season part of her summer - through the end of July - with her beloved babysitter mostly hanging out at the pool. She'll spend 3 weeks in August with grandparents and cousins and then return for some soccer camp before starting (gulp) Fourth grade.

Sometimes I look at pictures of her when she was a baby or toddler and wonder what happened to my baby. It also makes me a little sad that I really can't remember her at those ages. On the other hand, this girl who mentally wears me out almost as much as her brother wears me out physically, who would debate me all day long - if I let her - to get her way, who (at the ripe old age of 8 1/2) thinks she knows everything, who can drive me up a wall with her attitude, is pretty freaking amazing and I'm so grateful to be her mom.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So, have you met my son...

Yeah. Last year around the time he turned one, I started calling him Taz as it often seemed to me that I'd created a real life version of that lovable little cartoon monster. A year later and I now realize I had NO IDEA! What I took for Taz-like behavior back then was nothing compared to the the little devil currently snoozing in the crib in the next room. My sweet little chunky baby has turned into a full blown whirling dervish. He bites, he hits, he kicks, he throws, he climbs, he jumps, he fights, he wails, he lies! (oh yes -- I'll get to that later).

I love the little guy, and I should say that much of the above is not done out of any sort of malice, he is just 100% impulsive and there's just no control there. One night recently he was in my husbands arms singing some sweet song he'd learned in daycare for father's day. It went something like "daddy,daddy, daddy, love you everywhere and every way". And just as my husband and I were grinning ear to ear and ahhing over the sweetness of it all, WHACK - he just smacked my husband across the check out of nowhere. And hard. I really think much of the time he is trying to play and he thinks it's all very funny. But then again there are the times that he's mad because his sister won't give him whatever she's got, or I won't let him pour the orange juice in the already full cup, or I dare to put a diaper on him, or he want's to hold the whole box of crackers and not share them.

The thing is I used to roll my eyes when people would talk about how much harder little boys were. I knew they were very physical and often prone to games of war, but my daughter was never exactly easy. My dad used to compare my daughter with my nephew and talk about how much more physical, etc, that he was. And truly I thought he was full of shit. I would think "have you MET your granddaughter?" She seemed to me to be pretty physical and she certainly was never one to sit in a corner playing quietly. Little did I know.

Compared to her brother, my daughter might as well have been in a coma. The boy WEARS ME OUT! In the last week, almost every day when I pick him up at daycare I've had to carry him kicking and screaming to the car. This only after chasing the little guy all over the playground. He likes to take off into the big kids playground and climb, throw the mulch, throw the rocks, and then practice his civil disobedience training by falling to the ground once I am able to catch an arm or a piece of his shirt.

I am trying my damnedest to be gentle but firm with him, but he is every bit as willful and stubborn as his big sister. One big difference, however, is his size. The kid is 33 pounds of muscle and when he fights me, well let's just say I could use a lot more naps.

And then on the flip side, the little guy is all kinds of shy. If I take him to a party or someplace new he is attached to me like superglue. He will eventually warm up and start to wander around a bit, but god forbid someone tries to touch him and he's right back on me all "mommy, mommy, up, up, up!" It makes the first 10 to 15 minutes someplace new quite easy as long as my arms don't give out. Of course once he warms up and we're back to Taz-like behavior I start wondering why I bothered to go as I can never really socialize unless my husband is there too, but we often divide and conquer with the kids, so I'm quite often going it alone.

As far as food goes he's definitely our adventurous one. Although it is often hard to get him to sit still and eat with us. And some nights he hardly eats anything at dinner (I think he just eats a lot during the day -- trust me, there's still plenty of pudge there, he's not starving!). But, two weeks ago he ate a bowl of salsa with a spoon.

6 weeks ago he ate my entire bowl of spicy gazpacho at a dinner party. He loves pretty much anything sauce-like and he'll try anything as long as someone else is eating it.

He still loves to be read to, but as he's more active now, our reading, and therefore snuggling, time has really shrunk. He loves to play with his sister and her things. Fortunately, much of the time she likes to play with him too. They love to rough house together - which kind of drives my crazy - and he loves to be in her room. He loves his many, many trains and trucks. When he wakes up in the middle of the night and in the morning he usually wants me, but at night he prefers for his daddy to put him to bed. He clearly likes his friends at daycare and his teachers, but he still often clings when I drop him off in the morning. He loves to dance and sing and he has the sweetest little voice. He's bossy and likes to tell me "mommy sit here!" He loves to "wash his hands", which really means play in the kitchen sink small plastic bowls with the water running. He loves the pool and always wants to go swimming. If I pass our old street he points and asks to go "home". He'll tell me he wants more dinner as a ploy to leave his room. He'll ask to say goodnight to his sister or daddy and then run into the living room to his toys. He likes to sit on my lap at meals, but only rarely will let me help him with his spoon. He doesn't like to have his teeth brushed, but he does like the antibiotics he's been on recently for strep and a sinus infection. He HATES when strangers try to touch him and doctors visits, dentist visits, and hair cuts are pure and utter misery for us both. But once I tell him we are leaving he will high five and kiss everyone.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

5 months

Amazing what can happen in 5 months. Actually it's amazing how much can happen in just 10 days. We just had the most crazy 10 days. It was mostly good and fun stuff, but it tires me out just thinking about it all.

Big news is that we had Lucy evaluated this spring and she was diagnosed with ADHD.
This morning she started on medication. I've got mixed emotions about the whole thing and hope to write more about it here soon.

Next up though I think I'm going to have myself tested.

Will update on the kiddos soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beautiful Boy

So Ben is a bit of bruiser. He's a big boy and he's strong, VERY physical, and he wants what he wants when he wants it! But he still has a real baby face and at just over 2 he really is still just a baby -- a baby boy that is.

Around 18 months he developed a deep love of vehicles. He loves his trains, cars, trucks, firetrucks, and buses. Long ago I lost count of firetrucks in our house. Whenever he hears a siren he screams "firetuck" and the sight of any bus is met with a joyful announcement of "skoobus!" We live near the fire station and every time we drive or walk by he makes sure I notice the firetrucks and ambulances.

He recently discovered his sister's Peter Pan CD and now every time we get in the car he says "wanna lissena Penna Pan". So I've been listening to A LOT of Peter Pan lately -- seriously, I could probably recite most of the damn thing at this point.

He is still quite the mama's boy. He really wants me most of the time. He wants to be held and carried often and he also likes it when he can sit on my lap during meals. He's kind of bossy about it too. His way of "asking" to sit with me is "Momma sit Ben!"
Gawd - I managed to give birth to two really bossy kids! I sort of miss the short daddy-phase when he wanted daddy at least as often as he wanted me. Don't get me wrong. I know that I should enjoy the kids' desire for mom while I have it and he is one snuggly little bear - but since Lucy's ALWAYS been a mommy's girl, the pressure of both of them wanting me and only me can get tiring. And of course it's frustrating for my husband too.

Right now our big challenge is to cure him of biting and hitting. Starting a few months ago he really started fighting when he's not getting want he wants. When he decides he's not in the mood for a diaper change (most of the time) or for a tooth brush it's a miserable battle.

Unfortunately, he's in a classroom with a lot of other boys and many of them also bit. In fact about 2 months ago they were having so much trouble with the 6 biters that all the parents got called in for meetings. And it was a problem, over the course of the previous couple of months if we weren't getting incident reports saying he bit someone we were getting one because he been bit or scratched. The meeting was relatively benign, the teacher just wanted to let us know the strategies they planned on using in the classroom and, I think, to make sure the parents would all do what they could at home to help curb the aggressive behavior.

It all seemed to be working. After the meeting we had nearly eight weeks when he was biting much less frequently at home and we didn't receive any incident reports from school. Unfortunately last week he bit 1 kid twice and another kid once in 2 days. Nothing since then, but the teacher still wants to meet about it. We were supposed to meet today but she got sick, so it'll be postponed until next week. Big Sigh! Everyday when I pick him up I can feel myself getting anxious as I get closer to his room - just hoping that there won't be a report in his bag. It's so sad when you are actually relieved that your kid was bit instead of the one doing the biting!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Life goes on

Once again I see that the time has flown and I've been remiss about updating here. Work calls, or the kids, or the house, or sleep.

In general, we are busy, tired, but good. I quit the therapy sessions because I just didn't feel like I was getting enough out of it for the money. I've been so busy with work and home stuff the past few months I haven't even had much time to think about it all, but I know at some point I'll need to revisit the issues that drove me there in the first place. At the same time I have to say that life is pretty good and I can't (or at least I shouldn't) complain.

Ben has entered the "terrible twos" with a vengeance. The hitting and tantrums are tiresome, but he's so cute he charms the pants off of everyone. He's picking up words at a rapid pace right now, though he's still far behind where his sister was (verbally that is) at the same age, so we are keeping a watchful eye (or ear in this case) on things. I seem to have been blessed with two really strong-willed kids. Everyone told me that he'd surely be more mild-mannered than his big sis, but so far he seems to be following right along in her stubborn footsteps.

He regressed a lot with regard to bedtime and sleeping through the night from November until last week! But I think we're over the worst of it and the past week he's gone down well and slept through the night. Thank goodness!

Ben loves to be read to and will hand me a book and say "sit" if I'm standing up. Sometimes he'll just say "read, read, read". He just discovered "Where the Wild Thing Are" and now walk around roaring. He says "tchoo tchoo twain". He'll eat almost anything, when he's in the mood to eat that is. He wants to be with his sister always and for some reason only seems to want me when he wakes up at 5:30am. I suspect this is just fine with my husband.

My Lucy is more of the same. Still reads constantly and still struggles with math. She takes ballet and tap. She also plays soccer and swims. She would like to add in piano, drama, art, and other styles of dance, but of course there aren't enough hours in the day. She has two really good friends. Three is a tough number for friends, but they seem to handle it well enough. We've sent her to and hosted many sleepovers this year. I think we need fewer, they never get enough sleep and then she's a cranky mess. But they love to be together and even after 24 hours will complain when its time to go home.

She is still a great big sister, but more often wants to be left alone. We understand but its sad to see Ben stand outside her door and cry. Luckily he can usually be distracted by a book or a song.

As for the grownups in the family. We are currently in the planning stages of building a new house. We'll be building on our own lot, which means packing up and moving twice. The financing is tight, even for a relatively modest new home, so I'm alternately excited and terrified. There are so many variables and so many decisions and I already have a full plate; it's very stressful. Plus, to be honest, I know we're lucky to be able to do anything, but we'll do this exactly once in our lifetimes, and its a little disappointing to be compromising so much on what we want so that we can afford to do it at all. I do try to remember that no matter what it will be a huge step up from what we have right now. If I can just survive the process!

And that ends the update portion of today's post. In possibly more fun news, after talking about it for years, we finally hired a professional photographer to take some family photos back in October. (Wow, I really can't believe that was 3 1/2 months ago already.) Here are some of my favorites.

Friday, November 12, 2010

6 1/2 years

That's the difference in ages of my children. I've spent a fair amount of time during the past 5 years bemoaning the fact that my children would not be closer in age. Even after I got pregnant with Ben and, yes, even since he's been born I've spent time thinking about and feeling frustrated about this. Of course, I truly am grateful to even have had a second. There was time that I feared Lucy would be an only child. There was a time when it looked most likely that we would add to our family via international adoption and then our kids would have been even farther apart in age. But truly, despite all my angst about it, the age difference between Lucy and Ben has been in some ways a blessing.

Lucy and Ben adore each other. Nothing makes my heart sing like watching her read to him or listening to her make him laugh. Sure she is and will continue to be very motherly to him. Hopefully he won't resent it too much as he get's older, but right now he just lights up around her. Also, to be frank, he is a handful and I feel every minute of my 41 years, so having Lucy be relatively more self sufficient is wonderful. Not only does she not need the same level of care, but she actually helps out with Ben a lot. She'll play with him so I can take a quick shower or throw some laundry in the washer or cook dinner. She reads to him and plays silly games that make him laugh out loud.

One downside is that Lucy has a lot of activities and Ben is hard to take out, so we often divide and conquer. This means that we don't go out too often as a family, but right now it's what works best for us. Also, I know that it's not forever, once he’s older and a little easier to handle we'll do more things together. Another benefit is that we're not trying to get two kids to a bunch of different activities. Lucy participates in a lot (probably too many) activities and I can imagine the additional logistics that would be required if we had to get Ben to practices or games too.

I used to worry a lot about what kind of relationship Lucy and Ben would have with 6 1/2 years between them, but my and my husband’s families are good examples that years apart don't dictate how well you get along with your siblings. My sister and I are 4 years apart and we’re not super close, but we get along well and talk frequently. My husband is 2 years younger than his sister and 2 years older than his brother and none of them ever talk to each other. They put up with each other once or twice a year at holidays and that’s it. So I see firsthand that being close in age doesn’t mean kids will grow up to be close. Also, a former roommate of mine was 6 years older than her brother and they were very close.

So while I still struggle sometimes with lingering feelings of anger and self pity and envy leftover from the years of infertility and treatment, I'm pretty OK with the difference in age of my kids.