Monday, July 15, 2013

A Mom on the Edge by Holly Tunstall

When Kristy first asked me to write this blog entry I instantly said, “Yes.” Then as I sat down to write this I stopped and said, “What on earth was I thinking?” All the other people write such inspiring words. They offer advice and encouragement for other moms.  Well “WARNING,” I am not sure how encouraging or inspiring this blog will be. At the very least, maybe someone is going through something similar and can see they are not the only one about to lose it!
My story….. I am a mother of 3 boys. They are 11, 9, and 4. The one we will be discussing is my precious lil’ red-headed, four year old. Oh where, oh where do I begin with this….
Babies nap several times a day. My baby never napped, and I do mean NEVER. Still to this day my child does not sleep. He doesn’t nap at school during the day, and at night he is up until usually around 11 or 12 every night. On really bad days it could be even later like two or three in the morning. Sleep is just a lost cause, and no alternative therapies work. He wakes up bright eyed and bushy tailed every morning ready to start the day. Most children are cranky on no sleep. Nope, not my boy -- he is  happy, happy, happy.
Since Holt was born he has always had his OWN speed… and that speed is lighting fast. He was not walking but running by 9 months. He had his first broken bone by 8 months. He was a climber, jumper, flipper, and many other words that end in “er.” He was always into everything and could never be left alone. Busy! Busy! Busy!
His speed is so fast that it interferes with school life as well as home life. I know boys can be active, but hyper does not even begin to describe my child.  After being almost kicked out of preschool, we decided to take him to a doctor. I learned that not only is he hyper, but his whole body is going too fast. He has high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, elevated body temp, and he is in the 5th percentile for height and weight, etc. Basically the doctors say his entire body is on hyper speed. He can’t grow because he goes so fast inside and out that he burns far more calories than we can get into him. The doctors say he is definitely hyper, but he isn’t a classic ADHD case. They broke their own rules and prescribed ADHD meds to a four-year old as a last resort. They say he is an extreme case. They say he desperately needs to slow down, but they don’t know how to do it other than with meds. So after much dismay, we are on ADHD meds, and they help a little but not a lot. All the meds do is barely get him through the school day, and some days they don’t even do that.
School has threatened to kick him out on more than one occasion, but they always give us another chance because they also agree that he is precious, and they too feel he truly cannot help the fact that he goes 150 miles an hour. Therapists say they can’t help him because he isn’t ADHD. They say he doesn’t have any learning disabilities. In fact he is extremely smart for his age. He isn’t mean, so he doesn’t need behavior modification. He doesn’t display attention seeking behaviors, etc… He just simply can’t stay still, and they say it isn’t his fault. The “diets” don’t work (at least not the ones we have tried). So at the end of the day my child “is ADHD, but he isn’t”… that’s the best diagnosis I can get.
We went out to dinner tonight as a family, and I sat and watched as my husband sat by Holt and constantly had to tell him to stop or move him, or physically keep him from moving. It is constant -- plays with silverware, napkin, sugar caddy, shoes of, shoes on, arms in shirt, touches his brothers, blows bubbles, climbs under table, bounces in booth, lays down, taps foot, taps hand, puts feet in air, etc --  and that’s just the first five minutes. I break a sweat just watching him. Then we switch seats, and it’s my turn. Going out in public is soooooo exhausting. People stare and even comment on some occasions about the way I handle him. I hate it! These people judge me, and they have no idea what I go through on a daily basis. They have no idea that I do have to physically grab my child, make him hold still, and make him look at me in hopes that his little brain will slow for just a second so that my words will get through.
 People often comment about hyper kids and say that all they need is just a good whipping, or they need better parenting. These people infuriate me! I am not a bad parent! In fact I think I am a pretty good one. My children are disciplined. A spanking will not make my child sit still. He has a problem and despite my efforts and the doctor’s efforts we can’t slow him down.  
SO for those of you who are reading this, If you have any advice I will gladly accept it. I really feel like what I am about to say is what I am supposed to write. I feel like maybe someone else needs to hear it, to know that they are not the only one who is ready to give up. It is okay to feel like this sometimes. I am at the end of my rope. I barely make it through the day most days. I have not slept for four years! At best I get a few hours a night. I am a wife and mother. I work full time, and I go to nursing school full time. I have a husband who works very hard to provide for our family, but in doing so is never home. I am up all night with my son, and then up all day also at either work or school. This is my life every day.
I’m angry a lot. I get angry at God too. I have no mommy to turn to for advice or support. I have no in-laws to help. I ask “Why” a lot. Why him? Why me? Why 2 normal kids and one who has problems? I look forward to work just to get away from him for a little while.
There are days when my phone rings, and its preschool calling, and I don’t want to answer.  I cannot handle this. We don’t take it day by day in my house. We take it hour by hour. I feel like I am constantly on him. I know he cannot help it, but to be honest that doesn’t really make it any better. He hates me most days, and honestly there are days that I just don’t really like him either. (Yes, I just said that some days I do not like my child.) There are times where I just want to walk away from all of it. But then……. at 1:00 am as my child is doing the hokey pokey in my bed (and I do mean actually doing the hokey pokey) dressed like part batman and part cowboy (because of course we have changed clothes 50 times today) and he turns to me with those huge blue eyes and that sweet smile and says “Momma, you are so pretty…. well except for those big cracks by your eyes…… wait, how did your face crack? Oh well I love you anyway.” I just laugh and I am reminded that God has a sense of humor, and he knows how to remind me that I will make it another day. And I do make it….. 

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