July 19, 2009

What does it say...?

What does it say about you or about your child(ren) when your copy of The Discipline Book is scribbled on and chewed up?? Pretty embarrassing huh? I must say, for the most part Grace is a well behaved child. Until Lily came along she was a non-violent child but sibling rivalry or jealousy can bring out the worst in even saint. Her biggest issues are with listening and I suppose in part that has a lot to do with being two years old, but the bigger concern is ADD or worse still, ADHD...

My girls come from a family filled with ADD and a few cases of ADHD. To say that they are going to be non-ADD children is a hope beyond all hope. The odds, I am well aware, are stacked against them. Thankfully I was diagnosed at a very young age and long before ADD was the most over diagnosed childhood issue. I am aware of what it takes to parent and teach a child with ADD/ADHD. My parents started the process of getting me diagnosed with whatever it might have been when I was in the first grade. That would be way back in 1982. They spent the next six and a half years shuttling me back and forth from Western Massachusetts to Boston Children's and to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Psychology departments for testing. At the end of six years and after more tests than I think even a lab rat goes through, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. In 1988 Attention Deficit was not something that too many people knew about. It was not widely tested for and Ritalin was a fairly new drug. It was determined that I would be put on Ritalin but should be monitored very closely since the side effects of the drug were not clear. Funny huh? Now a days more children are on Ritalin than not; most misdiagnosed, and ADD/ADHD are so over diagnosed it it not funny.

Not long after my diagnosis, my brothers Rory and Sean were diagnosed with ADD and ADHD respectively. Then my mother was diagnosed with ADD and we were all on a Ritalin. It happened, for my family to be a miracle drug. School became less of a nightmare for me. My brothers were able to focus and calm down, home life improved, it was all around a good thing. That is until I outgrew Ritalin. There chemical in the ADD brain that is not produced (sounds a lot like diabetes of the brain) this missing chemical is what helps you to focus, that is where Ritalin comes in. But the adolescent and adult brain changes and Ritalin is no longer effective. Which is why there is now three or four other drugs out there for ADD/ADHD. Ritalin is effectively a form of speed, and while this form of speed can calm a hyperactive child it acts just like plain old speed to an adult or adolescent. Taking Ritalin in college was a nightmare. I was jittery and had no appetite, it no longer helped me focus, since I could not sit still in class... In short... it sucked.

I know from living with ADD on a personal level, as well as living with a parent and siblings with ADD/ADHD what it looks like and I can say with near certainty that Grace has ADD... Here's the crappy part, even knowing this there is nothing at the moment that I can do. It will take every ounce of patience that Brian and I can muster to make it through until she is three to tell her doctor we need to begin testing. If I were to walk into my Pediatrician now and say "Hey Doc, Grace has ADD where do we start?" He'd laugh me out of his office. So I will bite my tongue, and try very hard not to lose my cool when I have to say "Stop..." "Go..." "Get..." Don't....again" a million times before she actually gets it.

It is what it is, my girls do or don't have it, it's not a 'disability'. It will only determine how we parent and how we get them through school. I would just prefer to know sooner than later so they don't have to waste time spinning their wheels. For now I will keep reading the discipline books and hoping to find a way to get through to Grace faster than telling her to do or stop something a million times. At the very least I better find myself a doctor and get back on Adderall. It's going to take every ounce of my attention for to keep my girls on task. Hey if nothing else, my house might be better organized!!

July 13, 2009

"Time to feed the horses!!"

You know better than to tell a two year old something too far in advance. You know better than to give her ammo for the next 24 hours to drive you insane, but she is being too rough with her little sister and you have tried everything to curb this behavior, even for just a few hours. So you break down and get down to her level and get her attention and proceed to - Bribe her!

"Grace, if you are a good girl, and nice to your sister. - You need to be gentle, show mommy what gentle looks like. - So if you are a good girl and nice and gentle with your sister we will go to Auntie Dot and Uncle Buck's tomorrow night". We were going to Scottsdale to have dinner with the family anyway and will still go even if she is naughty, so I am hoping she behaves.

"And we are gonna' feed the horses carrots Mommy?"

"Yes, if you are a good girl, you can feed the horses carrots."

And so the rest of the evening Grace asks, when we are going to feed the horses? Is it time to feed the horses yet? Can we go feed the horses now? Announcing that she is going to feed the horses, and talking about the dogs. It goes on like this until bedtime. I have told her tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, but two year olds do not have a sense of time. It's almost bedtime, by the time morning rolls around, she will have forgotten all about the horses.

She gets up in the morning and not a word about horses or dogs, Dottie or Chuck. "Wheew!" Then after breakfast it starts. She needs and apple, she is going to feed the horses. She needs to get some carrots, it's time to feed the horses. She is a woman obsessed. I finally convince her that we will go feed the horses after nap time. It seems to work and with only a few reminders of 'after nap time', I have curbed the incessant horse talk. I know, I brought this upon myself. I was desperate and now I am paying the price.

Nap time comes and Grace goes down with very little fight. She reminds me that she is going to feed the horses after nap time and goes to sleep. An hour and a half later and about an hour sooner than I had hoped I hear through the monitor in her room...
"I'm Awake! Time to feed to horses!"

So we slowly get ready to leave. Pack a bag, load the car get changed and washed and all at a painstakingly slow pace. Grace is so excited it is adorable. She talks about the horses and the dogs the entire 30 plus minute drive to Scottsdale. We pull in Dottie and Chuck's driveway and she is cheering and squealing. We get in the front door, Grace asks "Auntie Dot - We go feed the horses carrots?!?" Dottie says, "Yes, let's go" And Grace refuses... Yes, flat out, terrified, refuses to go outside. In part because for all her talking about the dogs, and as much as she loves Molly a big, beautiful, gentle giant of a Golden; Danny the Springer Spaniel terrifies her and Tally the Lab jumps on her and Dublin is just big, gentle and kind but a solid, big Golden and coupled with the other two the dogs they are big and overwhelming and outside. So even with someone holding her up and out of reach of the dogs, she refuses to go out into the yard.

We play, eat, visit, it's almost time to go. Grace has asked to and refused to feed the horses a handful of times. Finally Uncle Buck picks her up and walks to the paddock. Dottie opens the gate and the horses come over for their treat and Grace turns her back and clings to Uncle Buck for dear life. Not even looking at the horses, forget feeding them. Don't worry though, the best part of the story is, the entire car ride home, Grace told me, in her most proud little voice, about how she fed the horses carrots. And she laughed as she told me and told Lily she fed them and made the sound effects that go along with a horse eating carrots "Chomp, Chomp, Chomp". In her mind she did it and it was so exciting.

She cracks me up!

July 4, 2009

Baby Stuff

Recently I have been trying to make some room and a few bucks as well. I have gone through all the baby gear that is just sitting around collecting dust and decided it was time for it to go. I had entertained the thought of donating it, or giving it to friends who have new little ones, but selfishly - I paid good money for this stuff and selling it would allow me to purchase the next phase of "stuff". That's all it really is... "Stuff" - but I like being able to give my kids these things.

It started with a stroller and the infant car seat. On a trip to Florida last year my stroller broke. Not broke as in unusable, but broke as in, required a little effort to open and close. Brian and I contacted Chicco (Love them!) and they sent us a new stroller. Just like that! More than a year after purchasing the stroller yet they still sent a new one, no strings attached. Brian and I decided to use the existing stroller until it was really damaged beyond use. After six months of using the stroller it just became normal to take the extra little step to open and close so we decided to sell the new one. Anyone who expressed interest in the stroller only wanted it if it came with the infant car seat as well. Lily would need and then was using the car seat so getting rid of it was not an option. Last month Lily graduated to the "big girl" car seat and I sold the stroller and infant carrier to a nice couple expecting their first child today. It felt good to sell it and have a few extra bucks in my pocket. But bittersweet to be getting rid of baby stuff. It really drove home the fact that once Lily is not longer a baby, we're done with 'baby'. Since she is our last I have to rember to savor all the milestones. They'll be the last firsts of their kind. Does that make sense?

Well, I didn't stay melancholy long - Next up and gone, one of the Pack n Plays, the Baby Bjorn, the Jumperoo, Bumbo, two Bouncy Seats, the Swing, the Old stroller - Okay, I might have an addiction to selling stuff. I can't seem to find anything else to sell and it's driving me crazy! It feels so good! Our neighborhood association only allows 'yard sales', 'garage sales' I call them 'Tag Sales' once a year and you have to sign up. So the once a year was back in April - I am not sure I can wait a whole year! Craigslist has rocked!

I now understand my mother's need to sell all our stuff at her annual tag sale every year. There are more toys and crap all over my house... I just want to scoop it all up and get rid of it! Where did it come from? Why do we have it? Do the kids even need it? Do they play with it? Or, do they just drag it out and leave it all over the house? We do have a few 'toys' that I really like, they are however, the toys that I think almost never get used. I keep telling myself that another big plus to having my children so close together in age is that I can get rid of stuff sooner. They will almost outgrow things together! So for now, I'm wandering my house looking for crap to sell! Good thing we have taken such great care of our things...

On the subject of baby stuff, but not with regards to selling it Grace is potty trained. I decided that if we were going to do it, and she was showing signs of being ready to do it - we would full on dive in and just do it! So I bought the 3 Day Potty Training book and on Wednesday we started and sure enough by Friday she was potty trained! It was possibly the longest, most physically and emotionally draining 3 days of my life, but so worth it! I would in a heartbeat do it again, and I will with Lily! Now we have yet to be 100% successful with staying dry at nap and bed times - and we have not ventured out in public yet. But Grace stayed dry all day yesterday (Friday) and so far today has not had a single accident!

I am not sure how I feel. I am with out a doubt proud beyond my wildest dreams of Grace. This is such an exciting milestone, but it is like the last remnants of Grace being a baby. She's a grown up little girl now. Not even a toddler anymore all at the tender age of 2 (25 months)! She speaks in full sentences, swims like a fish, climbs like a monkey and is so independent. Being Grace's other is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. She is the best thing I have ever done, next to Lily.

I Love Being A Mother!

Lily decided today that she would figure out how to climb the stairs. I do not remember how old Grace was when she could do that, but I am pretty sure she was older than 7 months! My girls... I love them to pieces with out a doubt, but they give me such grey hairs at the same time!
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