It’s no surprise at all, really, but M has finally and definitively been diagnosed as having ADD. It’s funny and telling that every single person I told that we were getting him tested was not surprised in the least.

It’s been an interesting process so far. I’ve always liked being in therapy — not that it’s a barrel of laughs or anything, but it’s certainly not boring and also (I think) a really valuable way to spend your time and money if you can and if you need it. M likes to talk and connect with other people and is very “in touch with his feelings” so I think he likes it so far, too.

So I feel like I have the rest of the summer to ponder what’s next, and that’s a good thing because there are lots of potentially enormous ramifications here — schooling, diet, and the family’s mental health and functioning to name a few. Big stuff. I don’t mind thinking about it and feel particularly blessed that I do have options and support.

I’ve been reading this book and felt comforted by this following passage I’ll quote at length:

Children with AD/HD find it difficult to remain seated in the classroom or at the dinner table or workplace. They are much more comfortable standing, rocking, or sitting in some contorted position. This movement is often the way information is processed.

Not only are their bodies in motion but also their minds are racing. As one thought enters their head, it is pushed out of the way by four or five more right behind it.

Many children with hyperactivity function on only a few hours of sleep, awaking refreshed and ready to go. Exhausted parents get little relief. They dare not leave the child unsupervised for safety reasons…

Parents also receive a lot of criticism because it appears they are unable to control their child. Relatives and friends are more than willing to make suggestions and recommendations on how to discipline their child. This only makes the parents feel more stressed and inadequate.

I will joke with some of my old mama friends about how I have blocked out much of M’s baby- and toddlerhood, and there is some truth to that. Feeling “stressed and inadequate” about parenting is an emotion I think many others share, but it is nice to know that it really has been that difficult. Bless his little heart.

Depression-Era Parenting Techniques

Having just returned from a brief visit to my dad (age 76) and my Aunt Lillian (70-something, but younger) with the boys, I am fascinated by how differently they acted while we were in West Virginia. Better for sure — they were held to much higher standards and performed admirably. Now they’re exhausted, of course.  But it was instructive all the same.

June 13, 2011

Both my father and aunt were very dismissive of D’s attempts to control situations. That worked beautifully. Aunt Lil served a “fancy dinner,” on linen and everything — roast turkey breast, baked potatoes, mixed vegetables, chocolate cake for dessert. She basically just told them what to do and what not to do (in terms of good manners) and they settled down and did as they were told. The bonus was that they learned something useful and they both enjoyed the whole scene.

The Sablack side of my family are known conversationalists and like to tell funny stories. I have terrific memories of get-togethers as a kid with my parents and aunt along with their various other brothers and sisters and in-laws in my Uncle George’s house in Sharpsville, PA. I miss seeing my many boy cousins and the few other girls — it is such treat to have several cousins of more-or-less the same age, something many kids don’t get to enjoy any more.  Anyway, it was a great stroll down Memory Lane for me (and also created a lovely new memory) but I was most simply delighted that my boys are able to enjoy this as well — the pleasures of a big, garrulous, first-generation American family. Knowing older people who love them and who have lived through things they have absolutely no idea about — folks who take an interest in them and what they think.

Lest I sound too admiring, let it be known that my father took the boys out for the day and fed them chocolate cupcakes and Sunny D (“35 grams of sugar!” said M gleefully) for lunch.

Hello, lunch

When I stop to think about it I am truly staggered at the amount of money I’ve spent on lunches over the years. You figure I was childless until I was 36 so I didn’t become domestic until I had to. Although I was a good brown-bagger even then, I ate lunch out way more frequently than I do now.

Add to that I am a big fan of lunch — I would plan my work day around lunch (that is, lunch at 1:00 or later so as to make for a shorter afternoon). For many years I was blessed to work in Manhattan and it was a lovely, common treat to eat my lunch outside in some pretty or interesting spot and read and people-watch for the whole hour. Many times I ate with people, too — business lunches, friend lunches, lunches with people I didn’t especially like.

McDonald’s in the city seemed like an odd thing to this Midwesterner who was raised on the stuff. I don’t think I ever ate there on my own choice, but would join friends if that was the place to go that day. I remember one of them distinctly.

It’s on Wall Street.

If memory serves, there was a piano player at lunchtime. How I miss the Big Town!

Saturday night

It’s been a busy time. I successfully finished the Ironman Challenge which I had happily quit. My fellow lifeguard, JT, told me that he would make fun of me for a year if I didn’t finish — “You don’t start something and not finish it! You have to be a role model for your kids!” All my friends there were super supportive and it was great. I finished off easy with a 2.2 mile brisk walk today while reading my book for book club (not one I’m particularly enjoying).

But I have really structured my days around working out and then there’s all the other crap that has to get done, plus I do require a certain amount of downtime in order to function well. In short, the house is a pigsty and now the yard needs to be cleaned up, too, a pretty enormous task. And I have to finish the taxes. And re-certify as a lifeguard (plus Oxygen, AED, and First Aid). And write an outline of my Dancing for Birth class for UH. I guess I’m feeling a little swamped. I want to keep exercising, too. I don’t love the act of exercising but I do love how it makes me feel.

Tonight I got guilted, and rightfully so, from my friend Bonnie whose party I was at (for her older son’s First Communion) for being so neglectful and I told her truthfully that I am really struggling with balance right now. I have decided to look at this year, this kindergarten year, as a transitional one for me — that I have to find a new and different balance that can sustain me for a while, really for the unforeseeable future, yet keeping me employable and solvent in case circumstances change. When you look at it that way it really is a tricky situation. Not that I’m not super fortunate and blessed, because I am.

Feeling good right now because I learned today that Danny got into the Zenith program and will be joining Miles at his school. It is such a terrific program and I think he will really enjoy it — he is very very curious and bright but I was worried that he might not test well. Hooray for both my smart boys — I am proud.

Live and Don’t Learn, That’s Us

My first husband Bob and I used to have this Calvin & Hobbes comic hanging on our frig — it seemed to describe us perfectly! It always made me laugh, and it still does.

I am reminded of this after a few weeks that have been, well, off the hook. Most recently, our basement flooded and after a long song-and-dance the finger is pointing at our waterproofer for doing an incomplete job (that cost $6,000). The city was totally and completely helpful, which was awesome, and ServPro, the professional cleaners, were really cool and accommodating, too. Lots of silver linings with this one. However, how did I get to be 45 and never learn about/get around to the concept of a rider on our insurance for just such a thing? If we had said insurance, it wouldn’t be such a huge problem. Anyway, I feel like an ass and am calling for new insurance tomorrow.

So sad

I am so very sad — as with all accidents, this one happened without warning. Our dear Rico, rescue dog and expert fetcher, bit Danny on the face today. I wasn’t in the room when it happened, but my mother was, and she tells me that Danny was hugging and kissing the dog when he said, “He bit me!”  I heard her tell Rico, “What have I told you about those teeth?” but then she took a good look at Dan and saw big bite marks on his cheek. It didn’t break the skin but still …. the dog bit my kid in the FACE.

She and my father (both of whom are fans of the dog) insist that we need to give him away. I think so too. In fact, now that I’ve told them I really have to — I can’t see explaining to them that we’ve decided it’s okay. Yes, I am 45 years old and run my own household, thank you very much, but I think in a case like this you need to listen to more dispassionate viewpoints than my own.

It sucks. I am sad and ignoring the dog. I don’t want any more pets.