Thursday, August 12, 2010
Parenting.How's that for a broad topic?
Don't you wish on many days, that these little darlings came with handbooks?And when I say handbooks, I mean individualized handbooks.Because Lord knows,no two are alike.Or even close.If you have been brave enough to go for it and have multiple children,it's seems as though,just as you think you have one figured out,another comes along and blows every theory and every tried and true trick,out of the water.We have nature and nurture,competing ferociously against one another and for me,at my advanced maternal age,it would appear that the Big Guy has a major sense of humor and decided to give me a run for my money with the last two.No need for a review on Miss Z.Her resume speaks for itself but then we have Joe.Our force to be reckoned with.And as much as I try to make light of life with our almost 7 year old,most days are anything but funny.Most days are filled with my head hitting the pillow at the end of the day,knowing I failed.
Joe was different from from my others from the get go.He was a terrible sleeper, first and foremost.In fact,he rarely slept.Certainly didn't take naps of any kind and nighttime was often fitful and restless.As he got older and was still in his crib in our room,next to my side of the bed,he would often throw his toys out of the crib,at us as we lie in bed,backs turned.When he hit an age that he could climb out of his bed,he was out of his room,no lie,not less than 60 plus times before he fell asleep.That is the stuff Super Nanny is made of.If only it were that simple, then Super Nanny would have been called long ago.Joe was a tough little guy but so be it.I adored him and always found ways to either nurse him and let him sleep that way,or rock him or yes,even allow him to sleep beside me.Whatever worked.Then as he exited infancy and hit a year old we realized he had no sound.None.No babble.No nothing.To this day we feel horrible because we would always comment how "good as gold" he was at functions because we never heard a peep out of him.Of course we didn't.He had none.Well,by 18 months of age he had a diagnosis of Severe Speech Apraxia and it wasn't until he was over 2,that we heard anything out of him.The results of such severe speech delay cannot be seen today in his spoken word but what has been left is some unbelievable behavior issues.Some which are well documented and found often in conjunction with Apraxia and other issues,bequeathed unfortunately, from some really crappy genes.
My family lineage holds an array of some not so peachy mental health disorders.Anxiety,depression,Bi-polar and OCD to name a few.Coupled with partial lobotomy,shock treatments,and the ultimate,suicide.Toss in alcoholism and drug abuse and well,you get the idea.Not pretty.Down right scary.But as a mother,instead of being terrified at the prospect of one of my children inheriting one,a few or possibly all,I have been vigilant to stay on top of it and more specifically,them.I have,through trial and error,learned to discriminate between personality,childhood phases and "just a boy thing or just a girl thing".I feel empowered with the knowledge of my family history.As sad as some of it is,knowledge ,in this situation, is indeed power.Although I don't have all the answers,I am a partner with an amazing doctor,who only wants the best for my children and wants nothing other than to see them all become successful,happy,serving others,adults.And three of the six have,or are on their way,to doing just that.And then there is Joe.Joe is truly a sweet,sweet boy.He is highly intelligent,which makes things ultimately more difficult.He is super funny which makes it difficult as well,because sometimes it is hard to keep a straight face during those most inopportune moments.Joe can be incredibly kind and caring.Especially towards his little sister.But what happens is,those amazing qualities are over shadowed by the extreme behavior that takes place daily.Usually multiple times, a day.His moods dictate the pendulum of this house.Without a doubt.Only if you have a child like this or,are an adult like this,could you possibly know what I am talking about.Anger,rage,defiance,impulsivity,irritability,inability to take responsibility for your actions,little mundane tasks or outings become huge productions.The simplest of answers,yes or no to a request,can turn ugly.Serious ugly... I could go on and on.I think you get the jist.What I do know is that it can be very hard to be Joe and it can be very hard to be Joe's mom and as of late Joe is in a bad cycle.A very trying,for all of us,cycle.
Tuesday we added another medication to his cocktail.Do you know how I hated doing that.?Do you know,as a mother who was giving her children organic milk before organic became the thing to do,how much it kills me to be on medication number 7,for your little guys?When I sat down in the doctors office,my first sentence was,"Different medication,same story."Which is this:We add something,we see improvement,I barely get the words out of my mouth that I see improvement and bam,things go south.To which,Joe says,"Well,maybe you shouldn't say that anymore."I truer thing has never been uttered.I will learn to keep my mouth shut when things are going good.And on some days I wonder will they go good?Ever.I know he is only 7 but we have been at this for a very long time.You know,with Zoey,there is an inherent truth to her future.Things we know for certain.With Joe,I find myself worrying far more about the life ahead with him and more importantly, for him.Some may wonder why,as young as he is,should I worry.I'll tell you why.I have one reference to pull from and it is this:You see I have a 39 year old brother who was Joe.Who people would compare Joe to and each time they did, I cringed.Surely my child will be more honest and loving and compassionate.Surely my child will make different choices and see outside his own selfish little space.Surely my child will not ruin every relationship and friendship he has the privilege of having in his life.Surely God,my child will not travel my brothers path.
As I have typed this post,while Zoey has napped,there have been no less than 6 outbursts,breakdowns and powers struggles.Having reached crescendos that one can only imagine.It has taken every fiber in me not to cry.I didn't.Maybe later I will.For now, forward we move.We adjust this medication and that medication.We half this and quarter that and we pray like crazy that we will find the magic for my little guy.As his doctor apologized for the complexity of all of his dosages,I said no worries,Joe is certainly complicated.
Complicated ... the understatement of our lives.