Thursday, August 12, 2010

Complicated ...






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.

23 comments:

Dora's Daddy said...

Here's to understatements. God has blessed you with wonderful "glasses" through which you see your life. Sorry about the meds. While I do not suffer that with my own child, I work in a profession which often involves working with children who are on a "cocktail" of drugs to help them gain some peace.

Your quote sidebar is wonderful (I just copy and pasted them to a word doc. Gonna use several of them).
Thanks.

Angi said...

Oh Heather, wish I had some words of wisdom, but I am guessing your "wisdom" has far surpassed mine:-) I know that alot of his behaviors may remind people (and you) of your brother but what you have to enter into the equation is YOU, Zoey and the rest of the fam that interact with him...these are things that will guide him into his future, as hard as they may seem at times...love to you as you walk yet another difficult road..hopefully your face is to the sun:-)

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

oh heather!!! i wish i had some sort of advice/wisdom/super nanny insight to share with you!!! complicated seems to be a good word to use (the title of your post)... life just is "complicated" and that seems to be an understatement, doesn't it? thinking of you and hoping that things with joe will turn around very soon for all of you!!!

Proud Grandma said...

My heart feels for you - we have a foster child who sounds very much like your Joe and we too are always wondering what to do next for her - her meds work for a couple of hours then she is back to her angry self - we are seeing a specialist next month and I hope that we get some answers - I hope your newest meds work for Joe- let us know how things are going for you- we are thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you Joe. You are a sweet, adorable, funny, expressive little man who keeps everyone "on their toes" every minute of your day. (and many nights) Your love & compassion for your baby sister Zoey is an awesome thing to watch. You see, I know all this from my visit at your house this past April and I saw with my own eyes all of the above. Oh yes, and one more thing you are one VERY bright little boy. But you are such a wonder and worry for your parents. I pray these new medications help you in your journey through life.

Love & hugs to you from
Great Aunt Bluebelle

Cammie Heflin said...

I had no idea of any of this. How I missed the apraxia I don't know! Come to think of it, I don't think I heard him talk! I wish I would have! I have worked with several kids with apraxia and am amazed by their progress. Thinking of you guys and hope this new med does what it needs to do!

Tara said...

Replace the "Joe" with "Ben" and you have just described my life. Ben will be 5yo in a few weeks. I find that people either minimize (ie, my kid outgrew that behavior, showing that they have no clue as to what I'm talking about) or they judge and think I should "lay down the law"(proving that they have never experienced a child like mine). It's lonely. At least with Ds, we have certain expectations and a whole network of support. Anyway, I hear ya! Hugs!

Lacey said...

Oh my little Joe. There have been many times I had to try not to laugh at what comes out of that intelligent mouth. I can only imagine how tired you are dealing with him all day. I love my little Joe. Hopefully we can connect tomorrow!

Penny said...

Hang in there............ Wow, does that sound trite? I don't know your situation, I certainly don't know your day.... I do think I know enough of you to know you have such great compassion for Joe and all your children. You are not failing anyone, sometimes things are just as they are. Joe is blessed to have you in his life, even if he doesn't know it right now. Your past experience will help him to navigate the waters of life.

Praying for you all!

Judy said...

I get it. I'm always here...call me even if you just want to vent for 5 minutes...it may be all either of us has before the next tantrum begins....Much love and hugs, my friend...I could have written most of your post! ((((hugs))))

mandd3 said...

I know your extended family situation too well. I pray you find the right combination to help Joe and that you find peace in your mommy heart with the tasks you have been asked to do.

The VW's said...

Joe sounds similiar to our 7 year old! I go through so many emotions with him on an hourly basis....one minute he is happy as can be and so loving, the next he is a terror, breaking into a major meltdown! He also likes to dress up like Joe does and is smart as can be.....but he makes some really poor choices in life! He is also a horrible sleeper, but when he finally goes to sleep....he's gone!

I always tell him that he should have been my girl because he is terribly emotional and loves to dress up in different outfits. We don't have any meds to deal with for him though, but maybe we should?!

One thing is for sure....Joe is one handsome guy and I have a feeling he will grow up to be a very successful man! He has a great Momma and with all that intelligence, he will probably have a bright future! In the meantime, hang in there with him and try to get some much needed rest to deal with that complicated boy of yours! HUGS!!!

Sewconsult said...

It's sad to hear that your daily struggles are so much more than I can imagine. I truly think that you have become such a strong woman (mother) to handle the problems with your children. It's also not surprising that the older girls are doing so well. They have a great role model. Praying for the right meds for Joe and well being for you. Take care of yourself. Your family needs you for the longhaul.

Becca said...

So often, in reading blogs, I forget about the other children, those that are not our complex-enough-kids with special needs (Samantha is/will remain an only child, so it's easy to forget about others' siblings and only focus on them). I always assume that the rest of the day-to-day is sunny and golden. I'm sorry you've had to go through this, and hope this passes somehow. Thank you for being so honest and open.

Rochelle said...

Praying for you and for Joe and for peace. I hope the new meds help him.
I know what a struggle those behaviors can be.
Hugs!

Anna said...

Dearest Heather, I am so sorry that things are so complicated with Mr Joe. I am glad that you felt you could share with us and I hope that helped in some way. Even if it was only for the few mins. you were typing it all out. I will keep this situation in my prayers.

Dawson said...

Talk about wanting to give somebody a hug!! OK so I know we are in totally different situations here, but I can so relate to some ( not all) but some of what your going through. Dawson's rage and aggression and violent outburst, along with the difficulties in speech sound very much like your story. I understand how that kind of behavior can dictate how things go for the entire house hold and it stinks!! We dont even dare try and go out to eat with Dawson right now. Telling him no is a disaster. Although the reasons both our boys act this way is completely different.... The results and the fears for the future are exactly the same... would love to
"talk about it" sometime with you..

Until then, as always, we pray for you.

a mother and a teacher said...

Heather,

Thank you for being honest. Your last two posts have been brutally honest, but they are real and they needed to be written. As far as your kids go I think you've won at least part of the battle when you are able to realize that they need help. I teach school and I've literally had kids drop off their kids without so much as a peep that they have problems only to have chairs and desks hurled across my room a few hours later. The parents then act shocked, as if this was the first time their sweet child threw a desk because someone walked too close too him. It is only after delving into past school records (they've usually jumped schools at least 4-5 times) and medical records that we find out that these children have serious problems. One of my children had been institutionalized prior to coming to me. But you know what as frustrating as that is, it's not the kids I blame. It's the parents who refuse to help their kids. Who refuse all medication because they don't think they need it. They are not even giving their kids a fighting chance. I don't know what the future holds for your little Joe, but I do know that the more you fight for him the better chance he has. And Heather it's okay to cry. You love your children and when you love your children as much as you do it breaks your heart to see them hurting in any way form or fashion. I will keep you in my prayers.

Tracy said...

Heather-
We have a Joe in our home. I could have written that post for you! I am told by those who truly know, it does get better for our Joe's and for their Mommies who love them. We've been on the pharmacopia roller coaster too. We're down to four meds, but I understand that puberty is a whole 'nother beast! I'll be right there with you...my "Joe" turns 8 next month!
http://stinkerie.blogspot.com

tish said...

I will pray that things get better with your beautiful Joe, my friend... I will pray specifically to our Thomas, as he's been an amazing little listener when it comes to answering prayers (after all, he passed away on the feast day of St. Joseph!).

I love you... call me or write when you're available to get together.

Melani said...

This post made me cry. Heather, you are an awesome woman and so very stron and an inspiration to me always!

Elizabeth said...

Heather, I am up far too late and just stumbled upon this post as I missed it when I visited last. My heart goes out to you, as I had no idea you had all of this to deal with, to live with, in addition to Zoey (not to mention the "typical" stuff!). I think it's great that you write about your struggles in such an authentic and honest way. I wish you continued strength and courage as you move forward.

blogzilly said...

My good friend Richard (Dora's Daddy), of what...now over 30 years, weighs in with the first comment. I'm a slacker...I only just got back here. I had some catching up to do.

You'd love this guy, he is about as spiritually evolved as they come, what he's doing in MY life I still don't know...:)

Anyway, one of these days if you are up to it I'd like you to elaborate on Joe and the possible connections you see to your brother and him. I know you were very forthcoming, but I sense there's more and if you ever wanted to share it, even privately, I'd be all ears/eyes.

Only if you'd WANT to...I feel like a schmuck even asking.