Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heartwrenching Honesty

I've never met a mom who says the parenting journey was easy. Further, the mothers I know of ADHD children have experienced heart-wrenching agony & even feelings of despair. These precious high-energy children don't intend to turn their homes and families upside-down. They were born with deep-rooted issues that show themselves in continual impulsivity, destructiveness, depression & confusion. It's not the kids' faults. They need our constant guidance and strength and we are tapped-out! Most of us eat, drink and sleep in a circus-like combat zone. Sure, there may be families who don't experience any of this but I haven't met them. Most are in over their heads.

Well-meaning family & friends whom we respect and love have often said, "he'll grow out of this" or "you'll soon see the light at the end of the tunnel." Parenting is 24/7 so we barely have time to head-off the hourly issues, let alone look to the future!  Besides doing damage control, making restitution with him & all that goes with that stuff, we have an earnest desire to implant crucial life skills in our boy. We want him successful in his future and we cannot lose sight of this need.

It's so frustrating that so much parenting time has been spent on negative issues. We continue to fill our family time with fun activities on a regular basis so that when Bobby is grown he somehow (miraculously) will remember the fun & not just the difficult times he experienced as he learned to cope with his "label." 

Today we see change. We see a boy who is definitely thinking about choices, offering on his own to take up responsibility around the home and not destroying things. He understands more about honesty & truthfulness. We are celebrating these things so he knows we're proud of his progress!

For years I have felt buried - no light in sight. I don't know what tomorrow holds & I'm not holding my breath. But today there is light & each day the light gets brighter as we get closer to it. I pray my son will be successful because of ADHD and not dragged down by it! I truly love this little boy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Getting Easier - Fact Or Fiction?

FACT! Either we have a calm-before-the-storm situation here or Bobby truly is growing out of much of his naughty behavior. Only time will tell, but for now we are embracing this with everything we've got! Have to admit it's an unfamiliar path. So many things on a daily basis are different. Traveling has always been fun with him but this last road-trip was perfect. No question! He's a normal boy with prankster blood running through him but he has a brother and sister with that trait so we chalk it up to the family-link! When calling the front desk from our hotel room recently, he grinned as he said "thank you" at the end of his call, promptly adding "I love you" just for kicks. He burst into laughter after slamming the phone down quickly. No time outs. No restitution. Even a couple of smiles from Mom and Dad who were a bit surprised! I suppose if Bobby begins saying "I love you" to everyone he meets we may intercede but something tells us this was his impulsivity at work & no harm was done.

Nothing was stolen. No damage was done to anything. I don't remember any out-of-control arguing. Bobby even mentioned on the way home he thought he was maturing.  Today he did normal chores without protest & confessed to something he had done when we weren't looking.  Truly this is something unique we've been seeing in the past 3 weeks or so. (While exercising is not known in any research study to "cure" ADHD, I find it keenly interesting that our regular family bicycling began about 6 wks ago!)

Is Bobby still ADHD? Definitely. He is showing the ability though, to think about things before he says or does them. Something we have discussed/yelled/preached ad nauseum over the past 8 years. It's "sinking in" is what we're thinking.  In one of his worst situations which is crowds of people (any number over 3 or 4!) he still shows his frustration in negative ways at times. However, even that is improving.

I'm not saying our path through the future will be lined with roses or that our son has magically turned into a completely different child. We are simply choosing to see the POSITIVE that comes along, especially since there's been SO much negative dealing with ADHD & Oppositional Defiance in this busy boy.  Things look really good right now. Embracing it!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Boys Love Bows-N-Arrows!

"Mom, look what I made!! LOOK WHAT I MADE!!"  Bobby shouted at me as I dragged myself out of my car at the end of a busy school day. His excitement brought true joy to my heart! I stopped in the yard to watch him shoot his dull arrow out of a homemade broom-handle & bungee cord bow. Grandpa's "real" bow set has nothing on this new one of Bobby's! (He drools over grandpa's every time we're at his house!) My mind shot back a few years to his other homemade bows & arrows which all looked adorable but only "dropped" the arrows straight down onto the ground. I'm thinking with our recent departure from gaming systems, Bobby has lots more free time to be creative. Excellent. Results we hoped for!

At this point his primary goal is distance. No pets or windows have been harmed & he's plenty satisfied with seeing how much further he can shoot. For now, this is a good activity but I'm not going to be stupid about it. ADHD kids shift gears rapidly based on boredom. If his attention shifts from distance to injury & damage, the bow and arrow set will magically disappear.  Right now, arrow-shooting is the favorite activity. I'm good with this!

Monday, May 16, 2011

ADHD Lad Meets Antiquated Activity

Once upon a time....there were children who had no televisions, no gaming systems & yet no boredom. These children were much like today's youth yet driven to use a bit more creativity in their play. This summer our home is stepping back in time. Not very far back. Alas, the television will remain, with it's 3 fuzzy channels. But we will desperately try to enter the time zone prior to gaming systems. (Yikes! Can we do it?) Our 10 year old has informed us this is unthinkable yet we think it will happen. He looked as though his life was ending. He is certain this is not "cool." We have just scratched the surface today and compiled a list of vaguely familiar activities & we look forward to begin checking them off one-by-one. The basic premise is: More family time & more creative time. These are wonderful sports (enjoyed still by teams & leagues around the globe) & activities here. Unfortunately, gaming has invaded family time that once was also spent doing these things!
Our List: basketball, foosball, bowling, swimming, soccer, tetherball, frisbee, air hockey, waterskiing, hiking, football, roller-blading, barbecues, backyard parties, trampoline, tetherball, frisbee, backpacking, skateboard, taking skateboard apart & putting it back together (that's an activity!), baseball, park, slip-n-slide, sailing, fishing with net, fishing with pole, gardening, cooking, baking, chores (a few), pets, riding bike, air soft gun, table games, puzzles, legos, toys, building a fort, digging a cave, fixing motorcyle, riding motorcycle, camping, road trip, roller skating, playing piano, climbing wall, rock wall, water park, write to grandparents, horseback riding, photography, concerts, geocaching, boating, rafting, boomerang, science camp, kites, rock collecting, museums, scavenger hunts, snorkeling, arts & crafts, hide & seek, model rockets, capture the flag, kick the can, volleyball, marco polo, marbles, some movies, balloon fights, volunteering, zoo, build something, visit farms etc....

We will leave the systems locked up for the summer, effective immediately. Though the very statement sounds dark and foreboding, our hopes are that we have a GREAT time together making memories!

P.S. We do still remain (obviously here) connected to the outside world. Simply searching for ways to combine healthy activity & productivity with our family life. Two years ago, these game systems weren't part of our home & we think we may like it better that way. We'll see!
One week down. Nobody is complaining. Lots of outdoor play & fishing for activities!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Now Who's Exhausted? Huh? Huh?

"Mom, slow down!" and "Mom, I can't peddle another block!" are some of my favorite phrases these days. After 10 years of desperately trying to catch my hyperactive & willful child, I can honestly say "I'M GETTING EVEN!"  First step was to get some bikes.  A few more supplies and we were rolling.  That was 3 weeks ago & since then we've logged 75 cycling miles & had lots of family fun!

I love my son to the moon and back in spite of the continual agony he puts me through. All moms "get" that. But quite frankly, I'm enjoying the current game of exhausting him!

Last weekend, bikes on the car rack & helmets, water bottles & a few granola bars tossed in the back seat, we dashed off for a neighboring town that boasts fine riding paths. We would ride from one park over to another by the bridge and back. Our toughest goal yet - a 25 mile ride! The path started out flat & fine but then came a few good hills. Around mile 12 Bobby reported from behind me, "I can't take any more of this." (Hmm, sounds like something I've said once or twice.) I pretended not to hear. He can run the property from sun-up to sundown & still take 2 hours to go to sleep so I have no doubts it won't kill him to keep riding. I see the bridge less than a mile out. We'll make it to our goal. He shouts a few more times into the wind and as my husband rides up near me I ask him if it's bad to feel glad we're FINALLY able to tire Bobby out? We share a laugh and ride on. Fortunately, this path ends near a skate park & fishing pond. Bingo! He's forgotten his sore muscles and checks out the cool park amenities.

On the second half of our journey we stop a couple times to look out over the river & grab a snack. We ride into the park exhilarated by a 25 mile evening challenge. Exercise hasn't done any permanent damage & we quickly add the miles to our ride log. Just spent 3 hours together with no screens (tv, computer, gaming). Bobby hasn't destroyed anything & everyone's happy. Bicycling seems to be our current cure for ADHD. Lovin' it!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Pepper Street "Gang"

Stories are a big part of our bedtime routine. Bobby loves baseball & history. Tonight we read a story about Jackie Robinson's tough beginnings. The story detailed his teen years and time spent with the "Pepper Street Gang." This rough group of youth wasted their days away throwing rotten fruit at passing cars and swimming in the city water reservoir where "No Swimming" signs were posted! (Tragic teen behavior!) One day a teacher of his took him aside and told him, "Only first-class suckers allow others to lead them into doing what they don't want to do. It takes guts to stand on your own two feet."  Jackie thought a lot about what his teacher had said and decided right then he didn't want to follow the wrong crowd any more. He began setting worthwhile goals & achieving them!

Jackie Robinson's baseball career is legendary as he was the first African-American major league baseball player. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962. Pretty good goal-setting! Bobby listened quietly to the story & I'm hoping he learned some lessons from Jackie. Maybe when he's a teen he won't spend his free time throwing rotten fruit!