Thursday, March 8, 2012

Morning Tug-of-War

My morning has a routine.  Mostly, I listen.  I listen as the Handy Man gets up and hear the muffled rain in the shower.  Through groggy mist, I hear him move around the house, breakfast, teeth brushing. Then, he kisses me goodbye, all minty fresh.  One of us whispers our wish that he could stay and sleep in with me.  One more kiss and then I hear the rumble of the garage door.

Soon after, the sounds of my high schoolers as they get ready for their social games and school work.  A slam of the door is my only goodbye as they rush to the bus.  Two more up and I hear cereal bowls and the soft sounds of Looney Tunes.  I hold my breath, waiting for the sound I don't want to hear. I wait for the hushed-voice-giggles across the hall. Those noises tell me my two youngest are awake.  I hope and pray each morning that slumber will keep them just a  little bit longer.  Once they're awake, the battle will begin.

Max is a too-cool-for-school teenager trapped in an 8 year-old body.  A year ago he was diagnosed with ADHD. I'd known for much longer that he had it.  (Sometimes, professionals need to listen to the mother.)  We've gone back and forth trying to find a medication that fits.  We're still trying. I welcome his morning with his pill.  This is my attempt at having it kick in with time to have him get dressed.  He says hello to a new day by jumping out of bed and never stopping till he runs out the door.  His younger brother may or may not have the same disorder. I don't know.  For now, he feeds off Max's energy and bad behavior.  They are a pair to fear.

The morning is filled with running, soaring over furniture, and basic refusal to obey any request I give. And noise. Lots of noise.

I try not to yell. Oh, I've yelled. But, I know it gets me no where. I yell, he yells, I yell. A push and pull that gets nothing done.  He leaves for school upset as I try to make up for my lack with one last holler- 'I love you.' Then I collapse in the nearest chair, fighting tears and the stress-filled lump in my chest, as I shakily accept my 'Worst Mother of the Year Award'.
I'd like to thank my Temper for making this possible.
So, I don't yell. It takes every ounce of willpower I have to stay calm.  I speak softly, gently.

"Max, please sit and eat your breakfast."
"Maxwell, get dressed. Please."
"Hey, your shoes are here, can you put them on?"


It helps. Sometimes.

I know there are people who would look down their noses and shake a finger of scorn for medicating my child. Let them. Max is the third in our family with ADHD, so we aren't in new territory.  The disorder is not a figment of our imagination or a way to shirk the responsibility for a misbehaving child. Max went through the first and second grade falling behind at every turn.  His teachers smiled at my concern and patted my hand, all the while telling me he was doing great. Now, he's so far behind in so many areas, it'll take a long time to catch up.

His meds make it possible to get through a day of school while actually listening to his teacher.  He can focus and stay on task. He doesn't disrupt his classmates (though he still annoys his teacher, but that's a post for another day).  He's a smart kid. His medication allows him to use his intelligence and develop much needed skills.

My morning gets peaceful once the school buses have all picked up their charges and my house is quiet.  For a few hours. Then, one by one, they'll come home.  And, after a couple short rounds of the clock, Max's medication will wear off and his control will dissolve.  Pent up energy and anger rule the evening. I'll search again for that will power as I try to get him ready for bed. Another tug-of-war where no one seems to win. Till, finally, sleep overpowers him and the sounds of the day become settling floors and deep breaths.  And a sigh.

9 comments:

  1. Meds are making such a difference for certain children I know. They are able to focus and suddenly getting straight A's. God bless the pharmeceutical industry.

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    1. And the doctors, who know what they're doing.

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  2. I never ever judge a parent who chooses medication with these circumstances. I've been a recipient of life-altering medication myself, and I know what a difference it makes for me. It makes a difference for Max, too.

    Hang in there, Mom. You're doing right by him, even when it's hard.

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    1. Hard it is. Which is why it's a good thing I didn't know what I was in for when I started having kids!

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  3. I would definitely trust your judgment over any "professional," let alone some random judgy person. Not only do you have the maternal instinct going for you, you have a huge well of experience from which to draw. And don't be too hard on yourself--none of us have superhuman patience. The fact that you are a mom so conscious of your responses and attitudes and the effect they can have on your son is a huge plus. Many kids don't have that benefit.

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    1. Yeah, patience is definitely not one of my superpowers! And, thanks.

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  4. Thank goodness for those few hours in between. The quiet. When you can remember how much your love your children, and how much they need you.
    And as far as medication - - just last night I was wondering if I should have a supply of Benedryl on hand for "Little Boy" (and he's only been with us for three days!!). haha

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