Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hitting a low

Life around here has been pretty good. Peter is a lot happier with working from home and things are SO much better than they were last tax season. Whenever he's feeling stress or getting cabin fever we discuss last year a little and that puts things in perspective real quick. I encouraged him get out of the house the other day and go with me to Home Depot he agreed that would be good since it would be the first time in three days he had put on shoes. I suggested that maybe it would be good for his psyche to force himself to get out-- complete with showering and shoes-- more often.

Nathaniel seems to be doing well. There was some panic for him when he was made a district leader but hopefully he has that situation under control now. He's been out almost seven months. I was excited to hit six, and I suspect he was too. I don't think he's had a companion he's really meshed with yet but that could just be Nathaniel. He does like to raze his companions a little. His last one would fall asleep when he was on the phone reporting numbers and after he got off the phone Nathaniel would shut off all the lights and wait for him to wake up so he could scare him. For some weird reason that companion didn't speak to him much for their last two weeks together. His current companion is a really passive and eerily quiet young man. Nathaniel tries to act extra excited around him to get him going but I don't know that it is doing much. The good news is he can pretty much tell him what they're going to do and his companion just follows along. We hear this one also falls asleep when Nathaniel is on longer district reporting phone calls but when he gets off the phone and shuts off the lights and waits to scare him his companion never wakes up.He regularly gets yelled at on the streets, still gets chased by weird dogs and drunk people, and says people in Peru wear a lot of clothing with English on it, which is only awkward when they wear it to church and it is saying something not particularly appropriate, which they often do. Most don't even know what it says. The people we've talked to that served in these missions over 20 years ago say it sounds like not much has changed, which is funny to me.

Sarah is doing amazing in school and just got back from a HOSA (Future Healthcare Professionals) competition in Logan. She is making new friends and busy weighing out different healthcare careers. She has been talking dietetics for the last few years but isn't completely sold on that. Like her mom, the idea of working in a more hands on manner appeals to her. It will be interesting to see what she ends up doing.

Rebecca chopped off her long locks a couple weeks ago. It was painful for me to see and I tried not to watch. It does look good though because she rarely curled her long hair or did much with it. I sent out the locks of love envelope with sadness wishing it could somehow be grafted onto my head. In the next life-- that is what I keep telling myself. School is still her nemesis.

Will hangs out with me a lot. He's super cute and I'm into him. Still speaks in mostly gibberish. Nothing new.

So things are going well, but of course life is always throwing challenges. My current and ongoing one is John. Here's the thing-- most of the time I feel okay as a mom. I do a lot of things with the kids and try to stay on top of what's going on and what people need. Nevertheless there are times I feel I'm failing and this one of those times. It isn't something I talk a lot about but John is really hard for us. I don't want to sound like there are not a lot of great things about John. He's genuine and creative and imaginative and smart. We spent a long time reasoning that John was going to grow out of certain things. And he has-- he's matured and some things have been a lot better. But some things have gotten worse and new things have manifest.

Now that John is in the 4th grade (and he constantly reminds me he should be in 5th) he's doing considerably worse in school. Not that he isn't capable, which trust me, I don't take for granted. He just can't focus. And he's got a first year teacher. Again. Thursday was a recipe for disaster. Took John to the dentist on Thursday where we address John's sensory issues with the dentist.
Sensory issues + brushing teeth = huge problem.
It's an issue every night of our lives. As it has been. For 10 years.

After school we met with the pediatrician. To recap we spent months going to the U in 2013 and getting no where followed by a rather nightmarish first half of 3rd grade. Then we thought maybe we'd get some help in the school district. When that didn't go anywhere we finally found a pediatrician recommended by our pharmacist. That was last year when we started medication for attention problems, a tremendously difficult decision for me. It seemed like that pediatrician was often difficult to get a hold of and insisted on this medication and only this medication. We switched. Now we are on a new medication. Every time you switch you start at the lowest dose and slowly move up. SLOWLY. And John has every side effect-- which is super fun. And makes me panic and worry we aren't doing the right thing. Also? The medication is not cheap.

Back to the current pediatrician. John is climbing all over the office. He looks at the teacher's evaluation. Clearly, he says, we haven't hit the right dose yet. He tells me every time we talk that when we hit the right dose the difference will be night and day. I speculate to myself how long it will take to get to that point and if we ever will and if we do what will it look like and what will the trade off be?

That night is parent teacher conferences. The report isn't good. Things haven't improved a whole lot and he mostly sits at his desk and draws or cuts up little pieces of paper. Or he sneaks in little toys. Like every day. And the teacher is too old to wrestle them from him. There was a sub the day before and John was sent to the principal. The only assignments that have been turned in are ones I've worked on with him. He's been kicked out of music and so he sits in the class by himself every week during music time. All of this, according to John, is someone else's fault. The classroom is too loud, the teacher talks nonsense, he didn't do anything in music class. Obviously accountability is not John's strong point. It is hard to get a child up for school knowing they are tired because the medication makes him stay awake at night and that they are going to school only to sit there and do nothing. The secretaries are always reminding me that he needs to be there on time. Peter says they can go jump in a lake. I feel like a lazy, negligent mother. The teacher asks me what she can do to. I give her a blank stare. Does anyone really think I have a bleepin' clue what to say? Does anyone think I really even know what I'm doing or what the solution is here? Because I don't. And I'm tired. And my efforts feel fruitless and I just want to be done with this parent teacher conference because it is pointless and there isn't anything new to say about any of it

When I hear these things I always give myself the same talk. Self, I say, this isn't worth it.Things are the way they are and are not going to change today and you're not going to make any thing one iota different by feeling bad about it. It's the fourth grade. Get over it.
But something feels like I'm resigning myself. Settling.

That night John moved slow as usual. Another thing about John-- he doesn't move at the same speed the rest of the world does. Because EVERY SINGLE POSSIBLE THING is distracting to him. He can't walk in his room without finding something to that must be played with/fixed/adjusted/built/rearranged immediately. And I mean immediately. Only it's only going to be "really fast."
"Just a sec." The three words that bring fire into his parent's eyes.
If we could pick one phrase to completely strike from his vocabulary I think that might be the one.

It's a battle. A big one that night. John is tired. Maybe he is still hungry. (The medication causes him to lose his appetite, which makes him starving when it wears off, which makes him drop weight every time we visit the pediatrician, which makes the pediatrician say we may have to switch again. Oh. My. Gosh.) My patience is gone. Nil. Nothing. Nada. I am yelling at John. Why, oh why, oh why, oh why, do you not have your pajamas on? It has been almost an hour and a half since we first asked you to get them on. "OK MOM! I'M DOING IT!!" But he isn't. He isn't near the dresser. He's telling me "just a sec" and messing with his toys and 10 minutes later the story is still the same.

Hear that? That was the switch.

I have now gone from rational, somewhat in control mom to completely irrational furious, contemplating bodily harm, screaming over his head as I repeatedly shout, "GET! ON! YOUR! PAJAMAS!--GET! ON! YOUR! PAJAMAS!-- John has now gone from distracted procrastination to completely freezing up and non-function. "Get away from me! I'm doing it!"
Only he's not. He's still standing there. The PJ drawer isn't even open.
Now I'm tearing off his clothes and jamming on the pajama top. John is screaming. I am screaming. He's in tears. I'm holding off until I get into my bedroom for my impending meltdown.
"We are waiting for you John. We want to have PRAYER!"
This, as you can imagine, is not Spirit inviting activity. I'm breaking like ten different parenting class rules and I could give a rat's you-know-what right now. I just want the pajamas ON. That's it. JUST ON. And prayer. Now. So I can go and cry in my closet in peace.

It's not a pleasant feeling to lose it like that with your kid. It doesn't make you feel better. Actually it makes you feel worse. It doesn't bring good feelings to anyone else in the house. It doesn't help the situation or change a damn thing. It doesn't bring about better behavior and it makes for a very upset John and Mom when we're supposed to be settling down for bed with happy, loving thoughts. I've handled the situation badly and if I was feeling like a failure at any other point in the day those suspicions  are now confirmed and I can safely say I'm utterly, completely, totally and thoroughly failing. My most important job and I just can't seem to do it.

I hate feeling so angry with my son. I hate having these feelings. I. Hate. This.

I have the thought that I should just stop trying right now before I blow it again. I wonder why I ever thought I could do this. I've tried. Maybe I'll never get it figured out. I think maybe we shouldn't even be doing medication. I don't even know. I don't seem to know anything. I can't see a solution here.
Can someone else tell me what to do? Would someone else like to take over from here? Someone with more patience and a lot more know how? Because that would be great. For all  of us, because clearly, clearly, I'm not that person.

And that is the way I feel when I've run out of parenting self-affirmations and I begin to doubt whether or not I can keep going. Like we all do. With lots of things. Just different things.

I told Peter I'm done so he needs to go in to the school and tell them what he thinks. He says we shouldn't feel one bit of pressure to have him there at a certain time or even that he needs to be there at all some days. I wonder why I even keep him in school myself if he isn't doing anything there and all it is doing is making him feel like he can't meet the expectations. What is the point? I mean, really?? What is the point? If he's only doing his work with me what does he even need to be there for? So I'm doing what people tell me I have to?

Of course the dilemma there is that he would be only with me. And have to do his work with me and I'd have to not lose my mind with him, because, like some Jeckyl and Hyde, John seems to do great on some days and not on others. We haven't figured that one out either.

What does Peter have to say about all this?
"I told you the same thing with Rebecca. Square peg. Round hole."
Why can he sum it up it in so few words?

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