On our way to dinner tonight (just seemed easiest at the time) he was expounding on how he's not in the Halloween-y mood when Zachary pipes up.
This is a true transcript (well, as good as my memory allows) of what was said in our car tonight:
Zachary: I like Halloween too. But I think it's my 2nd favorite holiday. My first favorite holiday, the holiday that I love more than anything is Christmas. And the reason I love Christmas is...well, maybe not more than anything because I love you two and my brother and sister and all my friends that aren't friends and my family more. Well, maybe I love Christmas as much as you two and my brother and sister.
Me: Wait. What are friends that aren't friends?
Zachary: The people at school that don't really play with me. I love Christmas because...yea, I think maybe I love you all the same as Christmas and then Halloween is second.
Me: Zachary, why do you love Christmas so much? (trying desperately to get him on track)
Zachary: Because it's a holiday about giving and love and caring about people and happiness and sharing and loving and all kinds of happy things.
Me: Zachary, you are an amazing child and you totally understand the meaning of Christmas more than people that are 4 times your age. You have it right on.
Then from the very back of the car, there's this little voice:
Lucas: I love Christmas too. I love it probably eleven times more than people. You know why I love Christmas?
Me: Why, Luke?
Lucas: Because I get presents!!
And thus illustrates the difference, once again, between my two boys.
It’s not any special day. It’s not the day I found out we were pregnant with you. It’s not the day we found out we were having a girl. It’s not your birthday or even your half birthday. It’s just a regular, every other type of day.
But with you, it’s not ever just a regular day. You are like a bright ray of sunshine in our lives. As I laid down to sleep with you the other night I realized just how different (not better, just different) it is having a little girl in our family. We laid together in the very same bed that I laid in as a little girl and read books together and laughed and giggled and smiled. I was so very content and happy that I would have a daughter to share the very special bond that I have with my own mom.
I giggled as you played the “kissing game” and would point to a place on my face that should be kissed and say “naaah”, point to the next—“naah”, point to the next place and say “YES!” and kiss me. It was so sweet and….perfect.
When you play the “how much does mommy love me” game, I act very upset when you put your hands only inches apart saying “this much?” and tell you “oh no, more than that!” You move your hands a little bit further apart to which I reply “nope, more”. You finally move your arms outstretched all the way, wiggling your little fingers and say “THIS MUCH?” to which I get to reply “from fingertip to fingertip, that’s how much I love you.” And what a more perfect time than when our arms are fully outstretched to give hugs.
And so the fight rages on. I know I'll never never be able to quit being an advocate for my child. I just wish sometimes that they wanted to learn how to make it easier for him and be willing to accomodate his special needs....like giving a 5 minute warning and sending home daily behavioral sheets. Both of which are in his IEP. Both of which are being completely ignored by his teacher.
I was going through my files on my hard drive looking for something when I came across this. I read through it again as my eyes filled with tears...it really does sum things up so well.
My A.D.H.D Child
By Tracey Nicolaus
He's bouncing’ off walls, a superball gone insane.
He runs through your world like an off-rail freight train.
Interruptions are constant, tantrums galore,
When it's time to do homework, he's gone out the door.
The drama is constant, oh his foot fell asleep.
He moans and he wails, the theatrics run deep.
School is a nightmare, the teachers are lost.
If they only could see, he is worth the cost.
He is brighter than most, as most these kids are.
And with patience and love, I know he'll go far.
But the crap I must take from "well meaning friends"
"Don't let him do that." "Oh these rules that he bends."
"You're not a good parent." "Your child's really rude."
"His temper's outrageous." "He has hands in his food."
He hears this and wonders, just what's wrong with me?
I tell him "You're special, you have A.D.H.D."
"Now A.D.H.D. is a gift from above."
"It teaches us grown-ups how to strengthen our love."
"It helps teach your teachers, no two kids are the same."
"You have awesome energy that could bring you great fame.'
"You don't need much sleep, you never wear down."
"You're silly and funny, when you act like a clown."
"You've felt lots of pain from what people have said,
But you pray for those people when you go to bed."
"So you try every day to make a fresh start."
"For God gifted you with an extra big heart."
As I look at my child, he sees through my soul.
My heart feels like bursting, as I realize my goal.
I know this young boy like no one else could,
He's a blessing to me, he's strong and he's good.
So I’ll love him and guide him through the worst of the worst
And he'll make a great man (if I don’t kill him first).
I'm kidding of course 'cause I know what's to be
When I look in his eyes, I see a reflection of me.
Why isn’t he crying more? Is he crying too much? Is he eating enough? Is he eating too much? Is he making all his “milestones”?
As they get to be toddlers you worry about them running away from you in the grocery store or the parking lot or running into the road and getting smooshed flat like a pancake. Falling down the stairs or tripping and splitting their head open.
As your children get older and move into the next phase of their young lives, you worry if they are going to do well in school. If the other kids are going to like them. If the teacher is going to like them or if she/he will think you’ve done a lousy job as parents.
Never in all my years, would I ever have thought that’d I’d be worrying about my 7 year old attempting suicide.
But I am.
This is not something I regularly discuss. Probably my own ideas that if I don’t talk about it…I don’t vocalize it…it’s not really true. I can push it to the dark recesses of my mind until something makes it come slamming back to the front of my brain again. That happened this weekend. Sometimes, I wish that others could see the outbursts that we are subjected to in the hopes that maybe they’ll understand our use of medications, therapy, counseling and weird routines and rules. Maybe they wouldn’t think that we are psychotic parents who need to let a kid be a kid.
Because if they saw a 7 year old rummage through the kitchen drawers, looking for something and finally settling on a steak knife before raising it in his hand to try to bring it slamming down into his chest, people might begin to understand the terror and despair that we live through as parents to a child inflicted with mood disorders.
Now, of course, he didn’t slam that knife into his chest. We had him restrained and the knife away instantly but what if next time we’re not there? What if as he grows older he begins to get smarter and understand that we are ALWAYS going to stop him because we love him so much and he starts to attempt these things in private?
This whole thing started because he was asked to do a simple chore…bring his laundry bin into the kitchen so I could wash the clothes. What it turned into was a tantrum for over an hour in which I had to restrain him 2 times to keep him from punching and kicking me, a broken necklace, a broken broom that he took his anger out on, and an attempt to stab himself all the while screaming how much we must hate him and it’d be so much easier to be dead and how he wishes he could just kill himself.
Finally, Chuck was able to get through to him and calm him down. What started in tears, ended in tears but of a much different kind. When they came back inside from the back deck, Zachary’s eyes were red rimmed and puffy. A tell-tale sign that he’d been crying hard. He hugged me hard and apologized for breaking my sapphire necklace and not listening and how incredibly sorry he was to have hurt us. I, of course, cry too.
And the cycle continues. Tantrum, threats, violence followed by great amounts of remorse. I do feel hope though for the future, because he does feel that remorse. Once he’s calmed down, he understands that his actions were not appropriate. I just wish that we could get to the point of understanding this before the actions occur.
October is supposed to be the beginning of the rough times for people with mood disorders as the days start getting much shorter and lack of light affects the serotonin and blah, blah, blah. Once again, we’re seeing this phenomenon happen. Every summer, I lull myself into believing that maybe we’re turning the corner with his behavior to just be kicked in the gut in October. You’d think one day I’d learn.
I’ll never learn to not worry though.
It’s funny, though, the things that you remember about your time as a child. You would think that you’d remember the costumes or going out trick-or-treating with your friends. But the times I remember the most were going and visiting my Grandma and Grandpa in the town next to ours.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to see Grandma and Grandpa; in fact, we saw them at least once a week. But after we went trick-or-treating to all the neighbors in about a 10 block radius and waited on the sidewalk for my mom to finish chatting with every. single. one. of the neighbors, we would pile in the car to go see my Grandma on the farm and then after we’d get our full size candy bars from her (score!) we’d head out to the next town to see Grandma and Grandpa.
They lived in a tiny little house….barely bigger than my very first apartment. Actually, my apartment might have just been bigger than their house. My Grandpa would almost inevitably be on the c.b. squawking about this or that and Grandma would meet us in the kitchen with our Halloween baggies.
Those are what I remember the most. They were regular brown paper lunch saks, but to me as a kid they held the sustenance of life. She would always have it rolled down twice and there would be grease marks on the outside. It was the same goodies every single year. I looked forward to Grandma’s treat bags knowing that some of my favorites would be in there.
There was 2 cupcakes with orange frosting and some type of Halloween decoration…a spider ring, witch stick, or some type of poker that my brothers and I would later get in trouble with as we poked each other with the pointy end. A handful of each: Mary Janes, Bit o’ Honey, and Halloween foil wrapped chocolate candies.
Still, to this day, I love me some Bit O’Honey. Every time I see those little candies, I’m reminded of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house on Halloween and those grease marked brown lunch bags. I remember thinking how much Grandma must love us to make us such treat bags and not just buy us some of the same old candy.
So, it makes me wonder what exactly my kids strongest Halloween memory will be. Will it be the weekend that we spend camping with THEIR Grandma and Grandpa and aunts and uncles trick-or-treating at the campground, like we did this weekend?