Monday, October 18, 2010

Pause and Reflect

Forgive me if I take break from the Halloween posting for a moment to talk about something truly frightening: Parenting!

Ha!  Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks and I believe we are due for an update anyway. Let’s see, last time we talked about this we were testing Russell on Adderall and about to head to Utah for a few days, drastically cut down from a couple weeks because we were struggling with the best ways to help Russell. Wonderfully, something about the trip did a 180 for him and we not only ended up being able to stretch out our trip, but it was some of the most fun the four of us have ever had together. Interestingly, though we had tried him on meds the week before our trip, he wasn’t on any medicine on our trip, and hasn’t been on any since that week.

The Adderall was interesting, it gave him a certain focus at moments that I had never really seen in him, and I think it actually showed him something about himself, gave him a moment or a pause? BUT. Wow, aside from a few good focused calm moments the rest of the time was odd. He was really intense in an obviously medicated way. He cried really easy, and he simply could not fall asleep at night. 

And I would do it again, I am so glad we took a minute to try that when we were in the throws of desperation. I honestly think Russell had never sat down and colored before the Adderall. I remember when he was on the Adderall and he sat down to color and I was floored thinking this is what other parents get, kids who will color or play by themselves for a minute. Since then, Russell has become a coloring fool! That is why I say I would do it again, and I’m really lucky that as his mom I know exactly what that moment of clarity feels like so it’s not confusing to me why that one week would have helped him. I remember the first time in my life when I was medicated in fourth grade. I’m not sure that I had ever slowed down before that. My sisters have all these really specific memories about childhood, clothes or dolls or events. I remember being happy as a kid, I remember having fun at lake powell, christmas, playing with my friends, but I can’t tell you what I got, or anyone’s names really. And I remember being in trouble for biting. Yeah, until I was almost 10! But even those memories aren’t specific for me. Things slowed down when I tried medicine. Ritalin did not work for me, you’d have to ask my mom why for sure, but I think it made me a zombie. Eventually I got on Dexidrine, and I also had success with Dysoxin.

The thing about medicine, I was on it for a long time, and I was lucky I had a mom who wanted make sure I didn’t lose my spirit in medication, but on reflection (and what I think I might end up doing with Russell) I think medicine can be a tool that I use sometimes, and not always. As an adult, I know long term medication is not a fix. You have to be careful that the actual person is able to build some life coping skills for who they really are at a time when they are still at the place they are safe to grow and morph while living at home and going to school. My concern for the kids medicated now is that they aren’t just medicated, but treated, evaluated, and at least given medicine breaks in the summer. And that the parents and child have a great therapist. A safe place to check in, someone who can kick back with your kid, not make them feel analyzed, and that can be your lifeline when you know you have decisions to make that will affect your child's life forever and the choices feel too big for you.  It doesn’t have to be a therapist, we do have a great one, but Russell’s preschool teacher has also been pivotal in Russell’s life, I will never be able to thank her enough.

And, as per my ADD, I derailed there. Sorry! I didn’t set out to write about medicating kids, but some of you might find that little bit of history/opinion interesting. Hopefully. Right?

Anyway, I wanted to write this, to tell you guys, that I have settled a little better into the ebbs and flows of Russell. As it is, I would say he is in an ebb right now. Or I’m in an ebb. It’s hard to tell with the way this family reacts to each other, so when Russell is struggling I often feel guilty that I am not doing all I can do to help him have the structure or boundaries that help him function at his best. But I think feeling guilty might be right behind sewing hoops on my list of hobbies, so don’t worry too much about me :)

And I’m ok in the ebb. I once had a doctor describe me as proactive. I think that is a great description of me! Listen, I am lazy, I continue to struggle with my “TV addiction” (insomnia is so much more fun with the national geographic channel! What would you like to know about the US/Mexico border wars? I can tell you. Or 5 ways to detect a meth lab in your neighbors garage? Or how ants will commit suicide if the queen dies (drown themselves. Seriously!)), and loads of other problems, but, ask Jon, I never have the exact same problem for long. My problems change all the time! I am always willing to try something new, and I will not sit and suffer in one place for any longer than I absolutely have to. I will attack things from 4 or 5 different angles just so I can get back to being lazy right away.

And my attack for this ebb? Peace. Make peace with the ebb’s. Do better today with giving Russell structure when he gets home from school, and make peace that I have been up for days with a sick pink baby and my best may not be good enough for Russell, but that’s going to have to be good enough anyway. And for Russell’s ebb?  Right now I am making a commitment to not ask Russell “What were you thinking?!” because he’s not. He’s bored in his fast smart brains, and he’s got 2 full tanks of gas and only one 5 year old body to get through it all. I know this, and he knows it, so I am just going to stop asking him to explain himself for a few days. I hated trying to explain why I did what I did when I was little. I really did try to “think first”, sometimes I just couldn’t.

Anyway, probably the scariest thing about this post is the length and lack of pictures. Sorry! If you want I can put pictures on here of the HIVES covering alice’s perfect pink body that will make the spider post look like sunshine and lollipops, but not even I am that spooktacular.  Stay tuned for pictures of the HOUSE though, now those will be good scary fun.

1 comment:

madre said...

you didn't need pics for this because your words made the real images. Speaking of which, as the Queen Ant, try not to die so your ants won't have to try and kill themselves (thanks for that 'pic'). russell is a wonderfully fabulous person and very lucky to have the mom and dad he does. and i'm gonna kill whatever made hives on precious alice j. walker, oh it was a citrus allergy, DEATH TO ORANGES!