Do you ever feel like you have the world on your shoulders? Do you ever wonder why your children do what they do? The proverbial slap in the face stings and radiates causing a ripple through many areas of your life. Mothers, tend to see things in a larger than life picture filled with what-ifs-and-scenario-pathways. With the recent disruption…my emotional roller coaster ride has tossed me around like a rag doll. This Is My Happy Face!
Just when you think things could not possibly get any worse….WHAM! I struggle to pick myself up and try to make sense of the situation. The hours and days of self-doubting as the tear ducts over produce salty waves of confusion. How in the world do this ever happen? A once clear forehead show signs of canyon like crevasses. This Is My Happy Face!
I apologize for being a drag today…but I needed to vent! Wish I could sit down and binge on some chocolate. “I don’t need the fat…the calories…or the sugars!” At least the word happy is somewhere through all of this…there is hope…right? A rough road lies ahead but together we will make it!
Have a great day!
The gentle sounds of the crickets fade giving way to the shuffled songs, from my iTunes favorites, as my morning alarm breaks my sleep. I rise and reach for a sweater or sweatshirt! “My husband likes a cool house…I usually have my fuzzy socks on my cold feet daily.” I make my way to the hall, leaving the door cracked, in case my furry companion wakes up, and head down the stairs. I move through the darkness, in a haze, and reach for a cup…pour…zap…mmm, Coffee! My routine! This daily schedule seems automated but comfortable. “I could probably do it with my eyes closed…but who wants to clean the possible mess?” Let’s Keep It Routine!
We set up routines to make things flow in our scheduled day. Routines can be a teaching tool for a child: tying shoes, brushing teeth, washing hands…peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I made lunches everyday for three boys…it was quite the symphony! The boys were thrilled that I remembered who liked mayo and mustard and who didn’t. “They were a little picky!” As they got older they were given the task of making their own lunch… When we adopted a little seven year old boy…things changed! The boys had started making their lunch, by themselves, when they were 10, 9, and 6! “Don’t worry..I was right there.” There were days that mom had to step in and make lunches because of the bathroom rotation or the chaos surrounding the sock basket. “Ah..good times!” The boys were all in High School, with one graduating a month later, when our youngest joined the family. He was seven years old with no concept of routines. The routine making of lunch became a screaming fire-drill. “Sadly it was our routines that had to change.”
It was easier to make it for him and sometimes one of the other boys would step in and make it for him. I would be helping him get dressed…or tying his shoes…well your get the picture. He was quite the handful and still is! He had been allowed to dictate what he wanted from how he dressed to what he wanted for lunch. He told me, on several occasions, to get him a Happy Meal from McDonald’s and bring it to the school. “That demand was met with laughter and a motherly No!.” He got upset and fought us every morning when we were making his lunch. The assortment of lunch meats and cheeses were not to his liking. The chips were not his favorites…and the cookies or snack cakes were smashed in his book bag when he got home. If this did not work then something else needed to be tried.
He has been making his own lunch for two years now. We scheduled the preparation of his lunch when the last of his brothers left for school. This gave him the entire kitchen to move haphazardly through as a solo act. No conflicts or clashing of Titan wills…just a 9 year old. We also did away with the lunch meats and gave him his own jars of Peanut Butter and Jelly. We have kept it simple for him…everything he needs for his lunch is in plastic, Tupperware like, containers. Cookies, plain chips and gummy snacks. Let’s Keep It Routine!
He talks to the peanut butter and jelly as he spreads them on the bread and places the sandwich in the bag. The messy counter top, covered with peanut butter and jelly, is still an issue. “We are working on how to be neater.” He talks to the animal crackers as he parades them individually into their bag. He retrieves the semi-frozen juice from the freezer and places it in the lunchbox with child-like dialogue. “It is very noisy in the morning!”
The asking of ridiculous questions mimics the second hand as it ticks. “Do you know this person?” “How do you say M E D I C I?” These questions were asked this morning. I stop doing my morning routine and glance at the page just above his little finger…”That is pronounced Med i chee.” Of course it was already broken down for him in his book…he just gets very impatient. He has his chores, like the boys had at his age, that he can never seem to do in a timely manner. On Mondays he gets up 15 minutes early for several reasons. Garbage day…husband’s work schedule, get organized from the weekend…you know how it is. He sets himself up for an Epic Fail daily as he chats with himself and sings and dances through the kitchen…plays in his room instead of brushing his teeth…pulling treasures out of his shoes before putting them on…then realizes the time and heads out the door. Chore are left undone…”Guess who gets stuck doing them?” He is not the only one who does not do his chores…I had to take the trash bag from the kitchen to the garbage can in the garage this morning..then take the garbage can and recycling bin to the street. You guessed it…the 21 year old son forgot to take the can to the street last night. Yep! Daddy was not pleased about that. Granted he was busy doing something important for the family business last night so that the item could be shipped out today. But come on! I have to laugh here…he just came down the stairs in a panic to take the trash out… “He heard the recycling truck come by and it woke him up!”.
Why do we have routines? As adults the question seems ridiculous but, a child needs to have them to function as an adult. What a vicious circle! Want clean socks that are easily found…wash them and fold them and put them away where they belong. “What a concept!” If you don’t want peanut butter and jelly all over your fingers when you pull the sandwich out of the baggy then don’t make a messy sandwich. “Right!” I know that if I want that first cup of coffee, and do not want to wait, I must make sure there is coffee made at night. “A pot is made before my husband gets home every night.” Let’s Keep It Routine!
Does it make me a bad parent if my morning routine revolves around finishing the chores not completed or done at all? “I hope not!” As I write this morning I am aware of the things that lie ahead of me…my routine with the added items on my list of To Do’s. This is a busy week of practices…final preparations for our Easter Music on Sunday Evening. This means my schedule will be altered significantly and, barring any unforeseen incident, things should go smoothly. I am down to the last of my latte’ and will set about making a second one in a few minutes. The house is still presentable on the surface. I will spit-shine and polish after dusting the various ceiling fans. “I hate this chore!” I really should put on a hazmat cover-all for the ceiling fans! “I wish I knew where all this pesky dust came from…I would love to send it back…COD!”
So I am off to the rest of my day…secure in my little corner of the world. I apologize if you see my life as mundane in nature…no I don’t…I love my life and it’s fire-drill tempo. Let’s Keep It Routine!
What are your routines? Do you find yourself doing things without thinking about it throughout your day? “Me too!” Speaking of routines…time for another latte’! Have a great day!
“I said “NO!”, “Read my lips…”, “What did I just say?”
All of these phrases are spoken on a daily basis to my 11 year old. What part of “NO” does he not understand? He peers at me with a freakish playful smile as his eyes dance with thoughts of what he will do next. This is not a sweet smile! I have seen that smile! He bounces like a “Tigger” having to be reminded of his every day tasks…he talks to himself and sings, badly, his little made up songs. “He can’t remember lyrics to most songs so he improvises…” Some days the noise level, mixed with the activity level, are just too much. “Do you know what “NO” means?” The annoying way he behaves drives me to the point I wish could just hide. “Can I just go back to bed and pretend that none of this happened?”. I could pull the soft cotton shield up around me and snuggle in, protected from the piercing ramblings of nonsense. There is no place to hide! The high pitched sound drifts throughout every corner of the house into my poor ears.
How many times must this simple little word be spoken? I understand that he is ADHD and that his mind is moving “faster than a speeding bullet”. He is worse than most toddlers in comprehension of this little word. He unplugs things and gives me that devilish grin and says “Oh…it’s plugged in…I thought it was stuck!”. “Really?”. He did this today with a new light we bought yesterday. Pretty little LED lights, that are motion activated, were placed in the hall upstairs and one in the hall downstairs. He was even with us when we bought them!
Please do not assume that I just don’t understand ADHD and the behavior children have with this disability. It runs in my family and allows us to be the people we are today. I have also worked with Special Ed. in a school setting giving me an insight into the diverse disabilities more severe than ADHD.
The laughter that dances in his devilish grin as he continues his morning routine is purely by choice. He knows what needs to be done…and yet..avoids following directions and requests… “Do you know what “NO” means?” I can turn to continue preparing my husband’s lunch and he will start up again. He just drives on, like the “Energizer Bunny”, spinning and stomping. Any noise that can be made must be made louder and repeated. He chooses not to follow directions…he chooses not to speak respectfully to adults at school and at home.
I remember dealing with my other sons when they were little. They are very close in age and the trouble they could find to get into…sorry…I promised myself I would not dredge up those memories. Balancing those three, very active, personalities was hectic at times. But moms just learn how to cope and teach at the same time. Habits were formed and continued! The daily shuffle became an orchestrated dance filled with love and laughter.
“Willful Refusal” is the term his teachers have used this school year. He chooses to act this ways and sees nothing disturbing about his choice. The hour long conversations fall on deaf ears and only tear the rest of the family down. “Do you know what “NO” means?”
We have tried it all…time out, sentences, loss of activities, grounding, loss of TV and computer. We even took the TV and computer from his room and told him they could be earned back. We talked with him and discussed the ways he could get these items back…and did he try…”NO!”
We feel like we are in a free-fall having lost the grip on the end of our rope! The doctors, he frequents on a monthly and quarterly basis, all agree it is his choice. I still see no changes and a downward spiral out of control. I desperately seek methods that will help him. He is a very smart little boy and has a creative personality. Any suggestions?