I’ve been slack…

Ok, I know I haven’t written lately, but life happens. Rae decided to cheer for the town, and a lot of free time goes into that. With that being said, let me bring you up to speed:

Rae went back to her pediatrician a few weeks ago. She was starting to develop a small tic and slight stutter. I brought these up to him (she was on 10mg of Focalin XR) and he decided it was best to cut her back to 7.5mg. She had also lost some weight, so I bought her Pediasure to try to keep that from happening. She drinks it fairly easily every day, but now she is having trouble at school again. Talking, arguing with her classmates…seems like we are back to the impulse control issue also. I know these things come with ADHD. The thought running through my mind now is, “could something in the Pediasure be affecting the medication?”. Anybody have any insight?? I’ve tried researching this, but came up with nothing. For right now we will go back to trial and error by saving the Pediasure for bedtime. I’ll keep y’all posted. (On the plus side, the Pediasure seems to have helped the tummy aches!)

On to cheer! Her coaches are so very understanding…🙂 by the time she gets to practice her meds are long gone. She enjoys the games, caught on to the routines quick, and has made a lot of new friends. The season is coming to a close and competition is approaching. Her meds will be on board that day…

As for me, I have been working on a personal project. Not going into a lot of detail, but hopefully by next summer I will have something bigger to share with y’all. A clue: I enjoy writing and have set a HUGE goal for myself. This one has been brewing for a while. 😉 Send me some motivation!!

ADHD & Essential Oils

I stated in an earlier post that I exhausted all options with Rae before she was officially diagnosed and medicated. In this post I want to share our journey using essential oils. I am a fan of DoTerra and still use them almost daily on Rae and myself. They helped before medication, but proved to not be strong enough alone for Rae’s case. I use the oils topically and aromatically. I have never let Rae ingest any of them (with the exception of a drop or two of Lemon).

Let me go over some of my favorites and how we use them:

Lavender: I put a few drops in Rae’s bath water at night. It helps to calm her down and puts her in a good mood. I also diffuse it next to her bed on really rough nights. The diffuser we have runs for four hours, and the lavender helps her sleep peacefully.

Peppermint: This one seems to help clear her mind. It does having an extreme cooling/hot feeling, so I apply it to her feet with some coconut oil. Or I just let her smell it from the bottle.

Balance: This one is a blend. It helps to calm Rae when she is having a meltdown. It also helps with any anxiety that may pop up. I don’t use a carrier oil with this one. I just rub a drop on her chest so she can smell it continuously.

Lemon: I mentioned this one above. I would add a drop to her sweet tea and let her drink it. She is not a fan of lemon flavor, so I could only get by with a drop at a time. It helps flush her system of impurities. (This one is not ADHD related, but I figured I’d share since we use it.)

I’ve tried a few others, but these are the ones that I have seen results with. If you use them on your children, please share! What do you use and why?

Sleepless Nights

No parent likes to hear their child scream in terror at any point. Much less in the middle of the night. Night terrors have been part of our lives since Rae was about two years old. Do they happen every night? No, mainly on the nights that she can’t seem to slow down and rest. Last night was one of those nights.

It started out as whimpers and whines. Then it turned into tears. I figured it was just a bad dream, so I picked her up. Bad idea…this caused full blown panic and screams of terror. At this point I know it’s not just a bad dream. I can’t do anything but wait it out. If I try to wake her, it gets worse and turn violent towards me. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, she has no recollection of these nights once she does fully wake up.

Lucy, her kitten, walks over to her with caution. I’m not sure what Rae saw, but it wasn’t a cat. She tried to literally climb up the wall. I manage to get her back to the bed and try to hold her until she wakes. I feel completely helpless at this point. For about 15 minutes I hold her while she fights. Her screams ease into tears, and then into what I like to call “the snubs”. I coach her into taking slow, deep breaths. I wipe her face with a warm washcloth. I make her sit with me until she is fully calm. At this point she looks at me and asks why her eyes are full of tears. I explain that it was just a very bad dream, and go through our entire bedtime routine again.

By this time, it’s almost midnight. She fights her sleep but eventually gives in and sleeps peacefully for the remainder of the night.

Do I think this is a side effect of her meds? No, she has many peaceful nights while taking it. Do I think it’s a result of her not being able to slow her mind down and relax? Yes. Her vivid imagination mixed with a racing mind is not a good combination. How do I handle these sleepless nights? I wait out the night terrors, comfort her after, and strategically cover my dark circles with a good concealer the next day. I am not helpless as a parent when these happen. I know that. It’s just not a good feeling when you have to watch your child struggle and can’t do anything to help her.

Have any of you had to deal with these? How did you handle/cope with them?

Am I An Enabler?

As a parent of a kid with ADHD, I have recently subscribed to Additude Magazine. The issues are full of helpful information, some I can use now and some that will come in handy in the future. An article in the Fall issue made me question some things. Do I enable my child or do I push her to take responsibility?

The title of the article is “Step In or Step Back?”. It goes through some feelings and thoughts that all parents have, but also adds some judgement that is passed by others that don’t have a complex child. My favorite quote from the article is: “…you are aware of the watchful (and judging) eyes of spouses, family, and friends that suggest you should be handling things differently.” It then goes on to say, “It doesn’t matter what Aunt Ida thinks, or the neighbor down the street, or, possibly, even your spouse. What matters is what you think.” You know your child. You know their temperament, their struggles, their strengths, and, yes, even when to give in. Don’t question how you parent your child, ADHD or not. Do what you feel is best and help them succeed.

Off that soap box…the article went on to give a chart about Learning the Phases. These phases are about handing over responsibility and how to do so based on where your child is at any given point. I’ve come to realize that different days mean different phases for Rae, as well as whatever it is I’m trying to get her to do. 

I have included a link so you can check out the article and the chart. I don’t want to leave anything that might be beneficial to you out. It’s an article that is packed full of good information. Rae is going into K5 this year and it can all be utilized to fit her needs.

https://www.additudemag.com/stop-enabling-behavior-supporting-adhd-children/

Waving My White Flag…

Before anybody draws conclusions on my title, no I am not giving up. I am, however, waving it for today. You see, my house started out clean (mostly). After the day’s activities, let’s just say Hurricane Matthew didn’t cause as much damage as Hurricane Rae has. I have couch cushions all over the floor. Folded clothes have been unfolded for the second time. A relatively clean bedroom has been littered with paper and markers. My kitchen has dishes scattered on the counters and in the sink.

Let me re-cap our day from wake up time til now. At 7:30 am, I was drinking my coffee on the porch while Rae jumped on a wet trampoline. At 7:45 I am walking around picking up the scattered toys in the yard from the past two days. At 8:00 we are coming in for Rae to get a bath since rain water isn’t clean and she feels “icky”. At 8:15 we are cooking scrambled eggs together. This leads to a discussion on baking something for dessert. (Dessert after breakfast is acceptable on rainy Saturdays in my opinion.) Our muffin mix didn’t require eggs (which had to be the main ingredient) so we settled on a chocolate cake mix. This was the calmest she has been all day. And let me just say, her cake turned out better than most of mine have because she had to tip toe so it wouldn’t crack. Apparently it’s okay if mine crack. While waiting on the cake to cool we went back outside (at about 9:45) to jump together on the trampoline. Keep in mind my house is still fairly clean at this point. I’m thinking, “Today is gonna be a good day! No meltdowns, no tantrums, just good times and fun.”

Fast forward a little to about 1:30 pm. We are in the checkout line at the grocery store. She doesn’t have my undivided attention because the register has frozen and I need to make sure my payment has gone through before leaving. She yells at me, she keeps picking up candy that they have strategically placed next to the card reader, and shoves back from the counter causing the buggy to roll into the path of other customers. I had a “moment” where I saw red. I popped her arm and (a little loudly) told her to stop. Cue the waterworks. I get glances of pity from the cashier, other customers pretend they didn’t see me pop her, and FINALLY my payment goes through. I rush out of the store while trying not to lose it on Rae. She knows what she did was wrong. She keeps apologizing through the tears until we hit sunlight. She fixes her attitude and sits quietly while I unload the groceries into the car. The ride home is relatively peaceful for what we just went through.

Skip a little farther ahead to around 2:30 pm. The munchies kick in and she’s eating anything and everything she can get her hands on. I have a pack of ham that has maybe two pieces left in it. A bag of cereal is half gone. The ice-cream carton has clearly seen better days. At 3:00 pm the hunger wave passes (for now). This is when Hurricane Rae hit my living room. I gave up on the never-ending cycle of picking up the cushions. Most have found their way back to the couch when she decides she wants to sit in a different place. I have a soaked towel on the kitchen floor from her “Wet Head” game. A wooden spoon is resting next to the tv from where she was using it as a magic stick. (Thanks, Wallykazam!) And here it is a little after 4:00 pm. She is perched on the couch watching Blaze while I type away on here. Finally the quiet time has come. We both need it to face the remaining few hours before bedtime.

My house will get cleaned. The toys and cushions will get put back in their place. We will mess the kitchen up again while cooking dinner together. For now, I’m going to enjoy cartoons with my kid. I may wave my white flag every now and then, but I enjoy every bit of this wild ride.

**This is an un-medicated day for Rae. They have been better and they have been way worse. We are working as a team to make life easier for her one step at a time. If you see me in the grocery store (or anywhere else for that matter) looking like I haven’t brushed my hair that morning and wearing yoga pants with a tee, this is the route we have chosen to try for that day: non-medicated.

Manage Your Child’s ADHD

When Rae was diagnosed with ADHD I knew what I was up against. Like I said before, I tried every other possible solution before deciding on medication. Even then I was very straight-forward with the pediatrician about the route I was comfortable taking. (No, I don’t have. a medical background. Yes, I have loads of experience with child development and early education. But even all that schooling and classroom experience doesn’t prepare you for the daily battle of your child dealing with ADHD.) People are quick to judge a child’s actions and call them bad or uncontrollable. People see the parent struggle (for example, in the grocery store) to get their kid to stay close by or respectful of the people around them. What they don’t see is the underlying cause. Rae struggles with impulse control. It was our hardest battle in her pre-k school year. I expect it will be again in kindergarten. What have I done to try to help her manage her ADHD? Lots of research, persistence, hard days, and trial and error.

Here’s some of what I’ve done:

  1. Predictable routines- In our household this includes meal times, bedtime, what happens on which day…if by some chance we have something come up in our day that isn’t usually there, we talk it out. A sudden change in plans leads to a full length conversation of whys, hows, and what’s going to happen. I do my best to keep our weeks planned out. Life happens sometimes and throws a wrench in those plans. There are days where this leads to an all-out meltdown, but we deal. Deep breaths, calming techniques and toys, and even just taking a break to walk outside can be a lifesaver!
  2. Clear expectations- Rae knows what I expect of her. This includes behavior, chores, school, church, etc. We are still working some (ok, lots of) kinks out, but it’s slowly getting easier. The older she gets the easier it has become for her to understand why something is expected of her. And if she doesn’t comply, it’s dealt with in an appropriate manner. She chances losing her toys, tv time, or her ice-cream after dinner. (That ice-cream gets her attention every time.)
  3. Diet- This one sounded crazy to me at first. This was a “trial and error” area for us. The first thing I researched was the Feingold Diet. Long story short, this was expensive…Do you know how hard it is to find foods that don’t include XYZ in a small town?? I wanted to pull my hair out. This is where I decided to A) eliminate the red dyes, B) cut out some of her gluten, and C) increase her protein. I can’t begin to explain how much of a difference I saw simply by removing red dyes from her diet. When she gets a red sucker or juice now, you better hang on. For Rae, it proved to have an effect equivalent to that of a soda.
  4. Take care of yourself!- The hardest one for me…I was the mom that does for her kid before anything else. If she couldn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep. If she decided blue pants wouldn’t work that day, I’d scavenge to find the brown ones. Not so much anymore. We pick her outfits for school the night before. If her insomnia rears it’s ugly head, I’ll doze next to her on the couch while she watches tv or draws. It’s not me being a bad mom. It’s handling a situation in a way that I won’t be rushed or dragging around the next day. YOU have to be healthy in order to keep your child healthy. Take time for yourself. Do things for yourself. A long, hot bath never hurt anybody. 🙂
  5. (Last one) Remind, ReMiNd, REMIND!!!- Even as an adult who doesn’t suffer from ADHD, I have notes and post-its everywhere. I need to be reminded of how to do things and when to do them. How can I expect Rae to remember if I don’t give an occasional reminder? This goes for more than just routines. Think about consequences. If Rae takes a toy that isn’t hers, she knows she will have to face the music. It’s tied in with her lack of impulse control. Sometimes she takes things that don’t belong to her, and she needs a gentle reminder that it isn’t right, and that she will have to return it and apologize. Some might view this as shaming because she gets embarrassed, but it’s not. It’s teaching her right from wrong. And if she gets embarrassed from me making her do the right thing, then maybe she will remember that feeling if she wants to take something else.

On top of all of that ^ we have to remember that our child is always watching us. We are their biggest influencer. Set a positive example. Model the behavior you want to see in your child. FOLLOW THROUGH with what you say you are going to do! I can’t stress that one enough. Empty promises and consequences are remembered very clearly. Give positive reinforcement and feedback. Create a support system for your child and yourself. I have an amazing family and group of friends to fall back on. They have all supported every single decision I have made for Rae, and will continue to do so. That’s not to say I haven’t had to explain some reasons for doing things, but it helps when they are open to trying them also.

This turned out wayyyyy longer than I intended, but I hope it helps!

Reference: 

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-in-children.htm