To Clear Things Up.
My son, Noah, is the most bright, charming, genius, goofy, awkward, silly, clumsy, and lovable kid on the planet. Im biased, I know. He also has been struggling with ADHD for quite some time now. Even as a toddler he was like the “Energizer Bunny”, always on the move and always on the go, go, go. He was always impulsive and did things before thinking, I mean he’s a kid right? Except, the level he does these things.. it’s not normal. His kindergarten teacher said to me, “Phew.. Noah has a lot of energy and never sits still!!” I knew this, of course, but thought.. he’s a little boy, that’s what little boys are like. It wasn’t until he got to first grade and his teacher had me come in for a parent/teacher conference that I realized, it isnt normal. I’d had suspicion, but never really thought seriously about it. His teacher pointed out behaviors and issues he had during class and suggested I see his doctor. We went and did the surveys and talked extensively with his pediatrician and with the notes from his teacher.. we concluded he had ADHD. We’ve been trying different dosages.. we started really small, as I was against medicating him with a methamphetamine. We started at 5mg, but it didnt show much improvement. He was on the 10mg for a month and there was still not much of a difference. It wasnt until we got to 15mg that there was a noticeable change in behavior. He was on it for quite some time, only recently needing to go to 20mg. I find it’s becoming less effective. Perhaps its time to change medications? Add a supplemental medication? Dope him up some more?
Second grade has been really rough. His teacher is an older lady who isnt as “strict” in her teaching methods as others. Noah does not respond well to lackadaisical structure. He works best on a schedule and with redirection and minimal distractions. He’s failing second grade. His grades are atrocious. His tests come home almost completely illegible, letters in the wrong order, simple errors in counting, no name on his paper… why? Distraction. He hears one little sound and his attention is there, someone says something to him and they’ve got his attention and he’s talking and not doing his work. He fidgets incessantly, he is always moving around, he fiddles with the corners of papers, he thinks about things that remind him of what he’s doing that are completely irrelevant and loses his place or train of thought.. yet at the very same time.. you can SEE the wheels spinning in his head.. that voice telling him to stop and pay attention and sometimes he does but most of the time.. he doesnt. You can SEE him trying to correct his behavior, you can SEE him trying and trying but at the same time.. you watch him fail. It’s heartbreaking.
Monday I made the decision to withdraw him from school and begin homeschooling him. It’s been something I’ve been considering for quite some time now but never took seriously because my main goal was to find full time employment. Now that Im working as a waitress, my hours are flexible.. I can work nights and be home with him all day long. I decided to go for it.
Little did I know the backlash I would get. The “opinions”. Bullshit. You mean judgments. Im not an idiot, I hear your underlying tone and hear it in your voice. “He wont get socialization!!” Really? The troops of neighbor kids are just going to vanish? The trips to the playgrounds will be free of all other living human kind? The library meetings will be solitary? Will he not see people during the gazillion trips to the grocery store that happens during the week, even though you SWEAR you got everything last time.
Beside all of that. Don’t you think Im questioning my decision too? Don’t you think Im sitting here, hoping to whatever God it is Im supposed to believe in, that Im making the right decision? Don’t you realize that this is my child’s life that is in my hands? I dont need you criticizing me and saying, “Well Im just not sure it’s the right decision”.. no shit. Do you think Im sure? Nothing is guaranteed. I dont have all the answers but Im sure as hell not going to sit back and watch my little boy, the little boy that I had at 19 years old that changed my entire life, fail because of what YOU think. I didn’t know it then but he came into my life when I needed a purpose to go on and it’s my turn now. It’s my turn to change his life.
I took heat when I decided to medicate him. You mean to tell me that you can take medication for heart burn, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, asthma, HIV, migraines, arthritis and every other ailment under the sun but my child can not take medication for his ADHD without judgement and criticism? There is medication that has proven results in helping children and adults in focus and impulse control, yet I shouldnt give it to him? Why? Why wouldnt I want to give my 8 year old little boy a fair shot at succeeding at life? He didnt ask for this.. he didnt deserve to be stuck with this.. he doesnt deserve to struggle his whole childhood and be judged at the same time.
Furthermore, I dont deserve to be judged and criticized for TRYING to find ways to make it easier for him. He’s MY son. Where are you when I pick him up from school and I can tell by the look in his eyes that he’s ashamed to tell me he had a bad day. You dont see the light slowly dying in his eyes because he’s CONSTANTLY doing something wrong and being told to stop. You dont see him smile less. You dont see him cry. You dont see him get so frustrated doing his homework that he screams in anger and dissolves to tears. You dont feel that guttural stabbing to your chest when you watch him cry. You dont hear the struggle as he tries to tell you something and loses his train of thought and gets upset that he cant finish a sentence. You arent there. You have no right to form any kind of vocal opinion where he’s concerned. He doesnt belong to you.
Today was our first day of home schooling. I think it went beautifully. I only had to loud with him once. Want to know why? After lunch we were doing arts and crafts. I had some craft dough and we were making things and he kept saying, “I dont want to do this Mommy, Im no good at it. Nothing looks good and I stink at making things.” I kept telling him that art was all about being different and not worrying about if things look just right. Art is about having fun during the process. He keep saying, “I cant do it”, “Im not good at this”, “I stink at making things that look nice”, “I cant”… I cant, I cant, I cant. Where did this come from? Have I made my son into a boy who has no self esteem? Why in the world does he think he cant do something as simple as making a shape out of clay? Why? Because he’s been being told, “Noah stop!” “Noah be quiet”, “Noah, no!”…
Well, Im going to start saying yes alot more often. I am going to praise him more. I am going to let him know that he is the best damned boy in the whole world and never to stop believing in himself. I am going to be a mother, and a damn good one at that. He’s my whole world and Im going to make his the best that I can.