Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Touch of Excess with a Little Finesse

I know I tread a fine line when I talk about politics or religion on here, but I haven’t tread very carefully talking about my trials with ADD or with Russell or with the combo of the two.  Maybe I should.

Maybe I don’t know how.

Okay, this is safe, here is a whole verse from a super song from a spectacular band:

A touch of excess with a little finesse is simply luxurious. And if I confess to making this mess, would that make you furious? But after a while you’ll be cracking a smile, and that’s when we’ll see! You’ll finally submit, you’ll have to admit, you’re curious like me!

Swell, huh? It’s from the album Snack Time (see side bar) and maybe they were spying on my life with Russell when they wrote it. It could happen. At the very least they obviously have an Alissa/Russell combo in the dimension where they live!

Today has been hard. This week has been hard. Right now it seems like everything ever has just been hard. You know, not eight months pregnant and moving a thousand miles away hard, or beautiful giant sea turtles swimming in cruddy oily oceans hard, but just waking up to relentless chaos every morning and counting down every minute to the end of every day just to wake up and do it again kind of hard.

Listen, I am aware of the striking contrast this post will have to the previous posts filled with pictures of smiling faces and babies and parties, but from April 16th to June 2nd is Party Season here. The not insignificant birthday’s alone number in the double digits! And I love it. Love.

I know I take celebrating to what seems like a ‘Martha’ kind of crafty over the top-ness, but it’s the grind of the in-between days that drives me to make some days be all about paper pin-wheels, cupcakes and cheering each other on like we really mean it. Just for a minute! What I often say if you ask me (or say to myself as I’m heading to Michaels for the fifth time in two days to complete some tiny element of something that many would think was unnecessary in the first place) is this: Life is hard. Celebrate it hard, too. 

Use the hands that life gave you to create things out of your own mind, make things, realize an idea, participate with your friends and family and (for me) your paper and scissors. Your brain is full of glorious treasures. Find them. Use them. And then give them away to people who nourish you in every big and small way.

What I’m trying to say is that my blog is about a lot of things that feed me. Sometimes those things are rainbow colored, and sometimes those things are black and blue. Just because they sit next to each other from one post to the next doesn’t mean they don’t belong together. This is life.

And what I actually came to write about today, what I need to share, I am wondering if I am even allowed or supposed to share anymore.  Religion. Politics. And now AD/HD. All taboo? I don’t know how to NOT talk about ADD. It has never been gentle with me, I don’t know how to be gentle with it. It would be like trying to cuddle arms full of pudding as it shifts and slips and get’s all over my clothes while still being completely delicious if I could just remember where I put the spoon….

But I don’t know where the spoon is, and I don’t know the proper way to handle this ever changing, controversial, and very real element of my every days, and my every minutes. I do not want to bash my child. I DO NOT WANT to bash my CHILD. He is my most beloved exciting treasure trove of beautiful and wonderful things! I don’t come here to mock myself, or out my husband for the space cadets we can be. I am not a mean person. Wickedly clever, yes. Mean? No. Not to myself, not to you, not to them. They are my people.

Every day, Russell sneaks in my room and dumps my laundry all over the floor. My dirty laundry, my clean laundry, bins in my closet that holds my socks and swimsuits and underwear. I have lectured, and listened and explained and spanked, and timed-out and bribed and every day at some point I will walk in my room and there are piles of clothes on the floor that I have to sort and put away again. And again. And again. After I finish sweeping, and dishes, and playing Guess Who? and glancing longingly at my wall of the hoops I stitch wondering when I’ll ever get to do another one, or when I will find time to blog about Russell’s Mario Party, or read Andrea’s blog, or check facebook to see what hysterical quip Kate has as her status, or what Jeremy and Leigh's baby looks like today, or if my nephew Zeke has carried anymore mice around in his shoe…

!!  okay, okay. My life is amazing, and I sure sound like a brat right now, but every time I have to get out the timer and stand over russell as I make him put all the laundry back which he screams and cries about, begs to take pee breaks during, says he sick, he’s going to barf, says he’s starving, he’s too tired and then cries some more as I make him put all the laundry back for the bazillionth time, which should take 60 seconds but he can drag out for 20 minutes… it feels like I will never have fun ever again. 

And then the next day I walk in, clothes all over the floor and the large laundry basket is upside down again. And Russell is inside it. He’s walking around making robot sounds like an R2D2 laundry bot and Alice is chasing him and laughing and I am torn in pieces by wanting to know what the right thing to do is and never feeling like I know exactly what that is.

And you know, it’s not just laundry… I talk about him having ADD in conversations with people who are becoming our friends and when pressed to explain why I say that,  I have a hard time because I can say, of course, Jon and I have had it our whole lives and I study it, and research it, and I’m his mom and his diet has helped and blah blah blah. But there is always this place where I can’t find the line between explaining to someone who hasn’t been the one person in charge of him for say, six hours, and just sounding like some overwhelmed mother who just doesn’t know how to handle a toddler. Or 4 year old. Or five year old. They all hit, they are all impatient, they all want things their way, they all test limits and boundaries, they all can’t sit still. I KNOW.

And so yes, just like politics and religion this is where you have to know your audience. And that sentence right there made this whole ranting post worth it for me. As I typed it, I read it, and as I read it, I HEARD it. I don’t have to stop talking about this, I have to start understanding my audience. Duh. It is in it’s own category separate from general parenting which is often how I find myself stumbling into ADD talk because talking about one just so naturally leads me to the other one. Sometimes that goes great, and sometimes turns sour in the ears of the person I am with.

But, if you’re here (and your still reading yet another rambling post) then thank you for being a safe place for me. I really need it, and I really don’t know how to get through what’s coming without being able to sort through some stuff here, and call you about the rest later!

Yesterday when I was at Russell’s school talking to Mrs. D in her office, I could clearly hear the other teacher say “Russell!! What are you doing?! Get off of that!” Now it does NOT make me feel good that Russell is as much trouble there as he is here, but it does make me FEEL BETTER that he is as much trouble there as he is here! It doesn’t make me feel good that I know Russell is not even close to being ready for kindergarten, but it does make me feel a little better that Mrs. D does not think Russell is even close to being ready for kindergarten, too. Is it wrong? I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to repeat things to him over and over and over, I’m relieved that I am not the only one who has to really think hard about how I am about to discipline him to keep it something he can actually hear and absorb instead of becoming a battle of wills, or power or hysterics.

And it does make me feel good, AMAZING, that Russell goes to a school where they don’t want to put him in a special behavior class, that they are cued into him and his dynamics, that they are teaching him to move among his peers as much as they are teaching his peers to move in an ocean with fish like Russell.

And this morning I couldn’t get out of bed because every fiber of my body hurt knowing  that if we hadn’t been lucky enough, blessed enough, to have been brought to the doorstep of this sanctuary of a school , that right now Russell would be in therapy, medicated, in a special behavior program.

The man I am raising is going to be so incredible, but getting him there is going to hurt sometimes. We hurt him, and he hurts us, and we say were sorry and we play Run and Tickle and we do it all over again, and again, and again. Sticks and stones might really be a better option for me right now. For now, I am the lynch pin on the grenade, and this morning I felt like I was trying to breath laying under a mountain of packing peanuts, pressing on my chest and cutting off my air. And the only reason it hurts me that much is because I know I am the best mom that this boy could have picked on the whole entire planet. I was born for this.

Now I just have to do it. 


Ryan and Lillian said...

Thank you Alissa! I think I really NEEDED to read your blog today. You say it so well. I wish I had your gift for writing what was in my heart and soul. I appreciate that you are willing to put yourself out there. You are able to put into words the thoughts and emotions that I cannot. It definitely helped me today. You are an amazing woman.

Lots of love!

The Farrell Family said...

I'm glad that you know you are the best Mom for your little guy. From everything I hear you say (write)I think you are a fabulous mom. Sorry things are hard right now. hang in there. Also, for what it's worth, I don't think religion, politics, or ADHD are, or at least should be, taboo. Talk away. :) Hope you have a happy day.

madre said...

you are a wonderful mom and i know because i was there babysitting alice while you were at russell's school. i see how much devotion you give to him and alice, and how much carefully considered direction. and altho you are justifiably tired and worn, i see first-hand each time i see russell how much progress he's making, it is an enormous leap alissa, even from just a few months ago! he is such a sweet, good boy, i am SO upset that i forgot to bring home the flower pot he made me! and i wish i could post the photo i took of alice while i was 'babysitting', ha. you are a great mom, keep your chin up. the best mules start off slowly, try your patience, thwart your every move and then the light turns on and they become magnificent. sorry to compare russell to a mule... i love you from your old madre

The Daily Nusz said...

Can't wait to settle in and read more of your blog . . . as I think you recall, I'm a school psychologist who works with many students with ADHD (and their parents, obviously). I do not have ADHD, so I really look forward to hearing perspective from an ADULT who is articulate and expressive and uninhibited enough to share. Thank you!

kateastrophe said...

Every time you write a blog post I just want to cry at how awesome you are. You're such an amazing woman and mother and friend and PERSON. You are one of the rare people in the world who puts it all out there, good and bad and beautiful and ugly, and you don't apologize for any of it. And what it does, see, is gives the rest of the world permission to be NORMAL. Because everything peaches and cream isn't NORMAL. Life mostly a long journey of hard lessons and hopefully we can find the beauty in the cracks. Which you do. And I love you.

Stefanie said...

Thanks for the post. I read the whole thing wishing I could help, then wishing I could give you a hug and then wishing I could hug Russell and then play dress up with Alice. Russell is adorable and you're the only one that can be his Mom ( I don't mean that in a bad way) because you know how it feels to be him.

Andrea said...

I don't think that any of us can really "help" when your days (or weeks) are pretty difficult, but we can (and want to) listen. You are a great mom and Russell is a great kid. Buy him a large laundry basket who's only purpose is to be a robot or a race car. Maybe he will leave yours alone. Maybe...

T + 2 said...
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