The sleep deprived ramblings of one full-time mom. I pretty much write to stay marginally sane and to make other moms feel better about themselves. You're welcome.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Parenting: The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

So I haven't blogged in awhile. And by "awhile" I mean over a year. Life got in the way, I went back to work full-time, etc.
But I'm back. *cue the confetti and champagne*
I just need to talk and I hope that you'll listen. If not, you're probably in the wrong place, no?
About a year ago my son was diagnosed with ADHD. Not "shows some tendencies" but "HELLO? ARE YOU STUPID? THIS KID OBVIOUSLY HAS THIS SHIT!!"
I think my husband and I had both known deep down, but we were firmly planted in the "ADHD Is Overdiagnosed and Overmedicated and We Can Handle This Because Otherwise We're Shitty Parents" camp. We had our names on a plaque outside the main cabin. And we handled it. Until we couldn't.
Years of phone calls from teachers, visits with the school counselor, parent-teacher conferences that led to binge drinking...they all came to a head in Miles' third-grade year when he ended up in a classroom with a group of "challenging" boys and a teacher who had zero tolerance for, well, anything. Call it the perfect storm, call it the year from Hell. Whatever moniker you give it, we were in over our heads.
So we called in the Big Guns. We visited the pediatrician. We took Miles to a therapist. We got on a first-name basis with the school counselor. And we finally agreed to test him for ADHD. We were told that there were often "gray areas" that suggested a diagnosis but didn't prove anything conclusively.
Then we got the results. And they were BLACK AND WHITE. This kiddo had it, the textbook version that got pharmaceutical companies salivating. And he needed meds.
We balked.
We talked.
We researched.
We prayed.
And we ultimately listened to the experts and agreed to try medication for Miles. Thank. God.
Within weeks he was a different kid. Not different in an altered-personality kind of way, control. The impulsivity was down, the hyperactivity was diminished. He was master of his own behavior for the first time.
And we wondered why hadn't done this sooner.
Miles' fourth-grade year was 180 degrees different from his third-grade year. Granted, he ended up (with more than a little help from the school counselor) in a class with some positive role-models and a teacher who gave him a gift he'll cherish forever: a love of learning. But there was something different in him, something that made him receptive to these positive influences.
For the first time in years, Brian and I breathed a sigh of relief. Parent-teachers conferences were a time to celebrate, not a time to dread. Grade cards were something to be framed; in fact, his final semester he got straight A+'s, something I didn't even know was possible!
And perhaps we got lulled into a false sense of security...more to come, but this mama needs sleep. Thanks for reading, listening, giving me a chance to vent.
This parenting thing is harder than it looks.