Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Child At a Time: A Series- Part 2

If you haven't figured this out already this will be a 6 part series, because ahh I have 6 kids! lol Bear with me today I've been up since 4 am with our youngest and am feeling a bit giggly.

T is my 2nd and eldest son. Our life together has had as many challenges as his birth. At 37 weeks pregnant I went into the hospital for contractions and as sent home after they were able to stop them. Fast forward a week and we back again, I'm in the "safe zone" and am allowed to continue to labor- well for as long as my body would go on its own. I had no IV, no Pitocin, no ice chips, no water. I was able to dilate far enough on my own to make it possible to break my waters when labor started to stall out. But soon after that I became so weak that the rest is foggy and I don't remember at all how they (the nurses and doctors) got my contractions going again but I do remember every person that came into the room to watch me give birth. Since I was the only laboring woman on the floor (or so I was told) and the heads of the hospital were touring the unit I had many, many non-medical strangers in the room. Let me add in here I was 18, in a very bad relationship and had not been receiving very supportive care through out my pregnancy- so I was very vulnerable to being with and top it off with a long labor, I did not know I could tell them to go.

T was born @ 6:05 am and I was too weak to hold him- he was handed to me but I told his father to take him right away because I was afraid I would drop him. He weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and 20.5 inchs and was covered in dark hair. My nurse looked at him and said "WELL! He could've used a few more weeks to cook!" I tried breastfeeding him as soon as I had the strength to hold him but I couldn't get him to latch, no one ever asked me how it was going or if I needed any help. I was offered a bottle his first night alive. I continued to try for the next three weeks but he never latched properly and I suffered a lot of pain. Three weeks into to life I give up and went to formula.

4 months after T was born I was given the opportunity to leave his father, with the kids, and ran with it. I knew he was killing me and was afraid of what he may to do them as they got older. So I'm 18 and a single mother to 2 beautiful, healthy kids- but an outcast and very lonely. My kids were my world- and I did everything that felt right and natural as their mother. We all slept together, I was their constant caregiver- hating to hear them cry- I attended to their every need. Especially for my son, who I had failed to "provide" a good father for (in my young mind and by all the statics and books my son would probably fail in life). He was undeniably connected to me, a mama's boy as many called him.

I turned 21 and had made a few friends, most were good influences, but mostly my own influence and sense of loss of young adulthood made me want some time to myself, to be social. I contacted their father and asked for help (not $$$ but just a couple nights alone a month). The children seemed to need his attention and all went well for a while. Not long after T started to have issues with behavior, major melt downs and temper tantrums in public- something we didn't have a lot of before hand. I felt my sweet little boy was disappearing.

A few years after reconnecting with their father we went to court and the children went to live with him, his wife and their son. I lost my babies. I tried not to be hurt or pull away but they were changing and into to people I didn't know. The bond was broken. It'd take a while to get it back and still its is not as strong as before- different definitely.

In 2nd or 3rd grade T was diagnosed with ADHD and put on Strattera, his behavior improved some but I'd still receive calls from him step-mother that she couldn't handle him anymore and wanted him to come back to me, where she felt HE belonged, but ultimately his dad would say no and that she had to learn to live/deal with him. They learned to "deal" with him in the form of spankings and verbal abuse. His behavior continued to go down hill. His school labeled him a lost cause.

So this cycle continued for a few more years, but added on to it was the loss of their insurance and T's meds, just a year after being on them. He didn't have a fighting chance I felt- and the courts would not reverse the decision because there wasn't anything "detrimental" to his safety. We weathered and did what we could for him when he was with us on the weekends and school vacations. We changed his diet and instituted different forms of "discipline" and just in general tried to love on him when we could. No this was not always easy and many times we would too get frustrated with his behavior and say all done!

Time passed and in the summer of '06 they came to stay, at first just for the summer but with the demise of the marriage at his father's, it became permanent. I made the decision, to help him succeed in school, to have him re-evaluated for ADHD and get him help. He was labeled with average intelligence and a few poor areas that would be difficult for him in school (transference of information, for one- where he can't look say in a Math book and then move the information to a blank page) and on top of the ADHD was diagnosed with ODD (oppositional defiance disorder- basically you say "black" he says "white"). He was put on Concerta and I was told to read Dr. Ross Green's book "The Explosive Child" and get T a mentor, a healthy male adult to spend time with him. The meds helped his behavior at home, but school was still an issue. He just was not succeeding or even trying. And getting him help was like pulling teeth from an alligator.

T has ALWAYS been a very compassionate boy, especially to those he deems "special" or vulnerable. He demands people show him respect even when he's not a very good model himself. He'll take a lot from others (outsiders) before he explodes. He has a sense of entitlement that makes me worry about him when he "grows up" and is on his own. But he is highly intelligent, I wonder sometimes if he's not my "smartest" but has just given up or is too lazy to show it. A story: Back in the 8th grade (oh so long ago!- he's in 9th! lol) he was taking Japanese and it came time for the final (up till this point he was failing the class and not completing any of the work)....the he took the test on the characters and ACED it. The other students in the class thought he cheated somehow, so the Sen-say asked him if he's mind doing another in front of the class (she knew he knew this but wanted T to show the others how he could do it, as an example), he agreed and again aced it! Japanese characters are perfect for my son, as a learning
tool- he can memorize signs and it's actually to him. This was the first test he ever aced, or for that matter got better than a D on. Why? Because it wasn't boring. (I don't think I'll ever really understand but it makes me wonder even more about him!)

Getting T the help he needs, in school, has been a battle- surprisingly some of his schools just didn't seem to want to be "bothered" with it. And even though he was being medicated and I was contacting them weekly- it took two years and two schools to get him a working IEP (Individual Education Plan) and even then it was just this year when everything that was recommended by his Dr. was included in it. The IEPs have to be rewritten yearly- so we go through the process often.

He recently told us he didn't think his meds were working that well anymore- very mature for him- and we are currently on the search for a better fit. The last Rx was too much and made him VERY irritable and the ODD was much more obvious. But he liked how it was working in school and for the first time ever he's not only receiving passing grades but As and Bs to boot! We've lowered the dosage and so far it's not the old meds but its working for him- and at his age I feel he should be included in finding the right fit. He is not all that interested in finding alternatives to meds, but we know he'll not just "grow out of it" and will be 18 in just 2 and a 1/2 years, at which time him insurance will end and something else will have to work. We trying diet (he is extremely sensitive to food dyes and excess sugars- but as a teen boy he completely denies this fact! lol), and other "alternative" sources. So far we've found caffeine, for him, helps to calm.

The mentoring thing never worked out well but my husband has been his dad (T's words). T is no longer a mama's boy but is not resentful of me- of which I am grateful. There is some awkwardness between us, on occasion, mainly when he's feeling needy and I don't know how to help. He soon will be an adult, and we all joke the day he graduates we'll be helping him move out! He's a teen boy- eats huge amounts, picks on his siblings, loves his video games, and never thinks about his future (in real terms). I think he's pretty typical, with a few add on that we are learning about and traveling the road of together. Would a do over of his early childhood make him and things "better"? I don't have time to speculate on that, we're to busy trying to find just what works for us. I do know I don't think he'd be as self-confident- that is a trait he developed through his experiences.

T is our rock, our tree, our try to be funny man. He protects his siblings, with his own safety on the line. He gives us headaches, and fills us with pride. He's a slob sometimes, but more often determined to set things right. I say "The sky is blue", he'll say "green". He likes to talk- even when no one's listening. But when we do stop to listen, we can learn many things. He is my bub-bee and will always be!


  1. I love this series! Keep 'em coming!

  2. I don't even know what to say...I'm blown away with the honesty your pouring and the love for your children I'm seeing even though life has thrown you far from perfect. I hope when my time comes to write about my parenting I accept that it was how it was and see even all the imperfections along with the joys apart of a positive trail. I love this sereis too...Can't wait to read more!!!!


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