Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the category “Disabilities & Special Needs”

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Here is a (very belated) update on “Leon’s Locks for St. Judes Kids Fundraiser”.

As you may or may not know my son, Leon, had been growing his hair since 1st grade to help a child at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Four year’s later my little guy isn’t so little anymore and is going into 5th grade (I KNOW! Right?) and met his goal to donate his hair. He also has met part of his goal to help the children of St. Judes. While he did not meet his personal goal of raising $5,000 he sure as heck did an amazing job in raising over $1500. His story ran in a local newspaper a few weeks ago. You can find the story here, but please note that the link provided in the story has been unfortunately closed, we are looking to reopen the event.

We are just so proud of him. He is just such an amazing kid.

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From One Differently- Abled Child to Another

My Wild Child

Leon is 9 years old and he has Asperger Syndrome /High Functioning Autism. He is an extremely  bright boy with big ideas and an even  bigger heart.

One of  the many wonderful characteristic of Asperger’s is Determination, and he’s got  plenty of that.  When Leon has is heart set on something, he cannot be derailed. When Leon was in 1st grade, he watched a video presentation in school about St. Judes Children’s Hospital, on that day he decided he wanted to help the kids of St. Judes, because, in his words, “I can help kids who are really, really sick” .  He then told me he wanted to cut his hair

In 2008, sporting his blue mohawk

(which was  Mohawk  at the time). When I asked him why, he said “because, I want to donate it to the ones that are bald”.

  Leon has not cut his hair since and that was back in 2008. In that time he has been teased, mocked, and bullied by other kids. He is often mistaken for a girl. But Leon takes it all in stride. He simply explains to those patient enough to listen, “ I am not a girl, I am a boy. I am  just growing my hair to donate to St. Judes Kids”.

In 2011, we found out that there was no guarantee that his donated hair would go to a  St. Judes Child. In fact it was unlikely. This did not sit well with Leon at all. He was very upset in fact. Although he knew that his hair would still go to a good cause, it was the children of St. Judes and their story that had touched his heart.

This is why he began hosting the “Leon’s Locks for St. Judes Kids Fundraiser”. It was important to him that he still do something for St. Judes Kids. Leon set his goal quite high, at $5000. We know it is a long shot but we have always taught him to reach for the stars and to believe in himself.

We worked together as a family to get donations where ever we could. His father and I reached out to our contacts via email, Facebook, and this website.  We also had cards made up for Leon to give out when the opportunity presented itself.

Leon’s Story Card

He gave them out to friends and their parents, at birthday parties, and communions. We carried them with us where ever we went. We even had a pin and a T-shirt made that said “ask me about my hair”.

Then when asked he could tell his story and give out a card. This worked out very well, because Leon did not always feel comfortable approaching people he did not know. But when asked he was always more than happy to tell his story about why his hair was so long. He spoke to people on the train, in restaurants, and we even hung out in Times Square for a while, giving out information cards.

Times Square NYC

 

.Both his dad and I are very proud of how much bravery and confidence he has shown when approaching and being approached by others. We love how much partaking in this, has helped him improve on his social skills, something that is greatly hindered by his Asperger Syndrome.

Being a part of this fundraiser has helped us grow in so many ways, both individually, and together as a family.

Tomorrow, July 7 2012, we will celebrate with our friends and family at our Annual BBQ that we have every year in July. At some point in the evening Leon will cut his hair for donation to “Locks of Love”. And while we  are happy to report that since Leon began this fundraiser in March 2012 , he has raised $1385.00;  we hope to continue in spreading the word and getting more people to donate to his fundraiser for St Judes Children’s Research Hospital.

Folks can donate with a credit card via this link https://waystohelp.stjude.org/sjVPortal/public/event/page/displayEventPage.do?sectionStyle=subMenuFour&eventId=310924&programId=2002

Please forward and share this story as much as possible!!

Leon’s self portrait

Leon’s Quest…

Welcome to Leon’s Locks for St. Jude Kids

My amazing little boy has been on a quest to,

Help the children of St. Jude.

This is his story;

It was just over two year’s ago when 7-year-old, Leon, came home from school after a presentation given at his school about the St. Jude Children’s Hospital Math-a-thon.

He begged me to give him permission to do it.   Of course said yes.

Then he said, …..”Oh and mom, can I get a haircut?”

“Why do you want a hair cut?” I asked. “Well, I want to donate it to the ones that are bald….”

I said yes, thinking it would never last; but I was super proud of him none the less.

And that is when he committed himself to grow his hair long enough to donate it to a child at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Now it is two years later; he has endured the bullies at school and in camp, who teased him, picked on him, and began calling him a girl. Which only exasperated his Aspergers Syndrome, causing him to spin or walk in circles. And that provoked even more teasing. We  put a stop to the teasing and offered to have his hair cut several times, so as to avoid being bullied. Leon’s resolve was stronger than ever. He refused to to give in.

His hair is now over 10 inches at this point and is ready to be cut.  However Leon recently learned that his hair wouldn’t necessarily be going to someone from St. Jude, (although it would still help someone in need). This was very upsetting news for Leon.
Convincing a child with Asperger’s to change his mind can be an uphill battle. Leon’s Aspergers, makes it very difficult for him to transition from one thing to another, especially when it is something as important to him as this. For more than two year’s, Leon’s focus has been on helping St. Jude kids. So with this news, Leon’s determination to help St. Jude grew even more resolute.  He of course still plans to donate his hair, but first he wants to help the children of St. Jude.

And Now, A Message from: Leon 

Welcome to my Leon’s Locks for St. Jude Kids event page.

My name is Leon Oldfield and I am in 4th grade. When I was in 1st grade, I watched a video in school about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It made me want to help those kids that were just like me; except they were very, very, sick and some of them were even bald. When I got home from school, I told my mom that I wanted to join the school fundraiser to help those kids, and then I told her I wanted to donate my hair to them too. My mom told me I would have to grow it real long. And that was just fine with me.

Now my hair is really, REALLY. long, but that doesn’t bother me at all. Because of my Asperger’s Syndrome, I tend to hide behind it, so I know I am going to miss it, but it is time to cut it. My hair will be donated to make a wig for someone who really needs one, but I found out it might not go to someone at St. Jude. So now I am hosting this event to raise money that will help out St. Jude kids directly.

This event will help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital find new treatments for childhood cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Your donation can help me to reach my goal of $5,000 and that can help St. Jude continue its lifesaving work against pediatric diseases.

Follow this link to make a donation. 

Check back often to see my progress. Thanks for helping me reach my goal for the kids of St. Jude!

Love, Leon

  PLEASE SHARE  either this page or  the donation page with EVERYONE you know. My sweet little boy with his heart of gold has set a fund-raising goal of $5,000. We are going to need all the help we can get! So please Tweet and Facebook away my friends.

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For more pictures of Leon and to see how his hair has grown over the years click here and scroll down

Something more…

It has taken me a long while to really get the whole ADHD thing down, not that you ever really do get it completely down pat. There will always be more to learn with each new year and every new experience. I’ve had to educate myself (and a few others) about this neurological disorder, and it’s been exhausting and rough at times. It’s also been very enlightening, both about Leon and about myself (going over my own life with undiagnosed ADHD). I have learned more about life and myself  in the 9 years that this little boy has been alive than I had ever learned prior to that.

In looking for answers for him I have found a few for myself. Still, I never felt that I had enough answers for him. It has always seemed to me like what we knew about him, just was not enough. There had to be something more to Leon and what’s “different”  about him than just the ADHD. And I say “different”, because there is nothing wrong with my child, just a lot of differences! But his differences have made his life more difficult.

I’m not saying he isn’t ADHD; on the contrary Leon could be the poster boy for ADHD. His severe hyperactivity and uncontrollable impulsiveness has gotten him into more than his share of trouble. We have clearly seen how severely his ADHD has impacted his life and that without his ADHD medication he just cannot control those impulses and can find himself in potentially  dangerous situations. He’s goofy and quirky, and does thinks that make him so uniquely different from everyone else.

But it is also for that very reason that I have long said there’s got to be more too it than just the ADHD. The fact that we, both my husband and I have always known that our child cannot and should not be left to his own devises for too long when not on medication has kept me searching for more answers.

When he is left to his own devises things seem to become … well lets just say challenging, to put it mildly. He becomes argumentative and seemingly willful. His actions tend to be unintentionally destructive – just last week he managed to …yank the handle off of the refrigerator door; …battle it out with his Dr. Seuss toothpaste – leaving a smeary mess; …chew up a handful of paperclips; …stuff his pockets full of rocks, sticks, snack bags, bolts, pens, pencils and any other thing small enough to fit.

...and the answer is, "things found in Leon's pockets"

Leon doesn't squeeze his toothpaste out; he rings it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Just Call Me Jiji

I’ve changed my look…

Well not my look, but the look of my blog. I wanted to go with something a bit more user friendly.

And with the changes comes a new name for my blog……   “Just Call Me Jiji”

~me, pretending to be me. ~now, where did I put my cape?

I discuss my life, my family; the issues we face, the things we enjoy doing as a family, and the things I enjoy pursueing by  myself

With this new look, you, the reader get to go straight to the content you are interested in.

This is what I write about and why I write about it.

My Home Page – All posts in chronological order starting with the most recent. My blog tells my story and the story of my family; warts and all!

Hello World – About me, this is who I am, or at least who I try to be.

Disabilities and Special Needs – I discuss those disabilities and differences that we, as a family face on a daily basis; and the treatments and accomidations that accompany them.

  • ADHD – My son Leon was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder-combined type, at the age of 5. It has severely impacted not only his life but both his father’s and mine as well. I’ve learned a lot from my little boy, and I suspect I too was born with ADHD. At this time I still remain untreated, but I am working on that.
  • Aspergers/ Autism –  At the time of this writing, it has been 6  weeks since Leon was diagnosed on the Autism  Spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). This is is my first mention of it on my blog. It    has taken me this long to let it sink in. I am sure there will be many posts on this topic to come, because as of right now I feel as if I am starting all over again. I am a newbie again and have a lot to learn.

  • Comordids –      
                         …Oppositional Defience Disorder (ODD) – Along with Leon’s ADHD      diagnosis he also recieved a diagnosis of O.D.D, and boy is he ever. His defiance aside, my strong willed kid with some pretty strong convictions.
                         …Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – Leon has always presented with sensory issues. I have long suspected that he has SPD, and have written about it in the past. Now, with his new diagnosis of Aspergers, it makes a whole heck of a lot more sense.
  • Fibromyalgia (FMS) – I was diagnosed with fibro when I was about 28, although symptoms were present much earlier than that. It’s been a rough road, but I keep on trekking. As much as I hate reporting that which is so negative, it helps to get it all out.
  • Treatments and Medication- When it comes to my own health I am not as diligent as I should be, and for that I do often pay the price. But when it comes to Leon’s health I am a stickler for staying on track. I am well familiar with the old adage that states; to care for others, first one must care for one’s self. That is much easier said than done, but ultimately I aim to get healthy not just for Ron’s and Leon’s sake but for my own as well.
  • Special Education – This has got to be my least favorite topic, but when raising a school-aged child with a disability, it becomes one that often comes up. I have had my fair share of Special Education meetings, both good and bad. If I can pass on some helpful information that may potentially help other parents I am happy to relive some of my experiences here.

DIY – I’ve always loved using my imagination and being creative. I love the feeling I get when I see something and think, ” I can do that” or even, ” I can make something out of that “. It’s taken me a long time to amass some measure of confidence, but I am ready to admit I do have some talents.

  • Crafts – Drawing, Woodwork, Glass painting, Digital Scrapbooking, Clip Art, Costume making, and more
  • Party Planning – I love, love, love planning parties and making the Holidays Special. Give me a theme and I will make it happen.
  • Photography- I have always loved the art of photography. What I lack in technical skills I make up for with my eye for photographs. The thing I love most about photography is the ability to recall so many memories from a single photo.
 

Home Life – For me, home life means family life, after all, home is where your heart is.

  • Family – the  main characters in this blog are myself, my husband, and our son. In our house, it is just the three of us; but in our family there are so many more.
                              ...Just Jiji – Jiji (Gee-gee) is the name my precious niece gave me when she was just learning to talk, I enjoyed hearing her say it so much, it stuck. More info about me can be found here
                               …My Superman – My husband of over 10 years now, is every wish, I ever made on a star, come true. He is every prayer  for a good and happy life, I have ever prayed, come true. My life; the one I truly love living, despite it’s upheavals sometimes; begins and ends with him.
                                  …My Alphabet Boy – My son with his AS/ADHD/ODD/SPD/L-M-N-O-P  is the greatest gift in my life. from him I learn how to be me. I thank god for him every day.
  • Parenting – Being a parent is the hardest most gratifying job in the world, and the most important.
  • Holidays- just as much as I enjoy planning parties; I love planning for the Holidays and celebrating with family.

Travels – I love to travel! And I especially love to plan our trips. I get a little high off of finding great deals and planning out little side trips. We love amusement parks; especially ones that we can get wet in.

  • Disney World – I love me some Disney!! If I could I’d go every year. I’ve had a few trips that I still have yet to turn into a trip report
 
  • Theme Parks – Leon’s love of water parks started with Sesame Place in PA, and now we make sure to hit a theme park or water park  at least once a year.
  • Other Destinations – As much as I’d like to make Disney our annual trip destination, our finances (or lack there of) always get in the way. But we always make it a point to go somewhere, even if it is just a weekend road trip to PA.

Just For Fun –  

  • My Favorite Things – ever come across something and just want to share it with everyone cause it’s “just so cool!” ? Well this is where I do that. Well here and on Pintrest
  • Slideshows – Just some pictures I’ve shared over the years

This child was a gift in my life, and all I want for him is the gift of a truly happy life. Is that too much to ask?

When I think of my one and only child; and I picture him in my mind’s eye, the first word that comes to me is BEAUTIFUL!

Yes, it is true, he is a looker, but that is not where his beauty lies. It comes from his heart and from his mind.

His beauty stems from his sensitive soul that can see another child in need of some thing; that drives him to attain that same something for another child. His wonderful heart that has devoted 4 years of his life to growing his hair out because he saw a little girl in a St. Jude Children’s Hospital video openly express her hope that someone would donate hair so she could have a wig.  In his brave heart that has courageously endured the taunts and the teasing by some of his peers, as well as being repeatedly and mistakenly referred to as a girl, by strangers. His caring heart and sensitive soul that loves all living things so much so, that spiders are not for squashing, they are for setting free outside in the yard.

His beauty lies also in his wondrous mind that is so much smarter than his dear old mother’s; his mind, that captures the ear of those around him with words that would otherwise belong to someone much older than him. It is in his beautiful mind that imagines the most wonderful possibilities; and gives birth to ideas that other 9 year olds would not of yet conceived of. His mind that is so analytic and technical  and literal that he surprises and intrigues most adults around him. His mind that I am told is gifted with an IQ in the very superior range, that should be enriched and encouraged to grow in knowledge and interest

Image

When I think of my little “Alphabet Boy” with his ADHD/ODD/SPD/LMNOP, the second word that comes to mind is SAD!

This child with all his exuberance; wicked intelligence; and killer smile should not be this unhappy with life or with himself. But he is. This beautiful boy with his gifted mind and his beautiful and sensitive heart is also a very sad and lonely little boy, and it breaks my heart into a billion little pieces.

He is not like most other 9 year olds. He’s different, and quirky, and weird. I have often said he marches to the beat of his own drum. He is as  unique, as an individual can be. And I love him in all his uniqueness. But I weep for him too. Because his differences make him feel so badly about himself.

 

Recently, we have had so new revelations about Leon and what makes him the way he is, Hopefully we can find some answers, and perhaps show Leon how to love himself as much as we love him.

What can you make with fishing line, crazy glue, and scissors?

Well, probably a lot of things. But what Leon made was a messy and chaotic morning!

English: A pair of kitchen scissors.

Ron has gotten plenty used to dealing with Leon in the mornings. While I sleep through it all.

But today woke up to Ron yelling and Leon screaming. From what I could make out, Leon was not staying on task and Ron was getting frustrated over …all of it(?).

So I stumbled out of the bedroom to see if I could give a hand. What I witnessed was Leon in all his …ADHDness! And Ron cleaning up after him with steam coming out of his ears!

I recognized this scenario right away, it is  the same one I deal with, when Leon gets home from school. But I also saw something else… a reminder. A reminder of what can happen when Leon is left up to his own devices. He really does need supervision when he isn’t at his best. Which translates to; when he is off meds.

My first question to no one in particular was, “has Leon had his meds yet?”

Ron answered “not yet!”, with a huff.

I sat down next to a very fidgety Leon and placed my hand on his shoulder, and reminded him to “Take a bite”, he did as I said as he yanked himself away from me. There was too much left on the table from the night before. I took a toy out of his hand, “BITE”, I reminded him again. He grabbed for the next closest thing as he took another bite. I held my hand out, and he knew to place it in my hand, which he did with a slap. It’s too early to correct his behavior right now, besides it would only escalate things. He started to reach for something else, but I got to it before he did; “take another bite”. “I AM!!!” he screamed.

I look at Ron and he answers my puzzled look with, “Did you leave out the fishing line last night?” as I watch him follow and collect the invisible string from all around the room, over chairs and in between chair legs and all around the table.

“I don’t think I did?” was my response. He tells me, “It is everywhere!”, he was NOT happy.

I grab Leon’s wrist as he tries to lunge for yet something else at the other end of the table, “EAT”, I say, and then, “Leon where did you get the fishing line?”

He  says “the drawer on your desk was open“.

I get up and check my desk drawer, which is indeed open and my eyes widen. I think, Oh Crap, and I say, “Leon what did you do with the glue?”, as I realize the lid had been removed from the container that I keep all my super strength glue hidden in.

“Nothing!” he says angrily, and then in response to my stern look, he said, “It doesn’t even work, it’s empty”. So I ask, “well what were you trying to glue?” and again in his angry voice he says, “Nothing, I was just trying to glue a bookmark into my book”, “but it didn’t even work the only thing that got glued was my fingers, but don’t worry I eventually got them unstuck.”;” Wow that must have been scary”, I said. His response was. “I was a little scared, ….at least now I know why they call it CRAZY glue”

I almost laughed, but I kept it in as I went into his room to survey it for any damage and I pick up the scissors on the floor. “so, what were you cutting?” I asked, as I looked for things with holes in it. When Leon gets a pair of scissors in his hands he loses all sence of reason. I worried that it was the bed sheets again or the clothes strewn across the floor. He casually said, “nothing, just my cards.”  I look on the floor, yep, there they were, all cut up into tiny little pieces.

I realize he is out of his seat and standing in his room with me, “Leon, did you finish your breakfast?” He runs back to the table, and starts to shovel the food in his mouth like a madman.

I should be correcting him, telling him to take smaller bites, and to sit in his seat instead of standing there leaning over the table. But I don’t, I just think to myself – eh, at least he’s staying in one place and eating. …and if he choke’s I am right here to do the Heimlich. Then I wonder to myself hmm, do I even now how to do the Heimlich?

Didn’t matter in the end. He was done in a flash and on his way.

I watched him, hop around on one foot and then another. He was worked up, but for no other reason than he just had to move. And move he did. And jump, and twist, and flail…

…and when I see him like this, I know, “he’s just getting his Flutterwackin on” ;

Yup it’s Leon in all his ADHDness, alright. And then some.

I try getting him back on track, and ready for school. He just lashes out! He’s angry, and frustrated, and the tears start to fall.

I get it. He feels like we are on top of him, smothering him, trying to control every action he makes… and the truth is, we are. We are because we have to. We are because if we don’t, it won’t get done. We are because at this very moment he just CAN’T. We are because it is a school day and we have to get him ready for his day, feed him, get him dressed, give him his meds and get him out the door and on the bus so he can have a good day at school. It sounds so simple but it’s not. It’s exhausting…. and a little sad.

The sadness comes after he’s gotten on the bus, it comes when all I can think is thank goodness that’s over (now I don’t have to deal with his ADHDness for at least another 7 hours).

The good thing is, neither does he or his teachers for that matter.

That’s when I realize it’s his teachers that always get to see him when he is at his very best.

After such an exhausting, stressful, anxiety provoking morning,that’s enough to make me jealous and then I think, Thank Goodness for weekends!

Picking up the Pieces

So my previous post was a bit DESPERATE, don’t you think?

I was in a pretty pathetic and desperate state of mind.

But today is another day and I’ve got some repairs to make.

I am happy to say I slept a good 10 hours that night. Something I definitely needed. Not napping created the crash and burn effect I needed to restart my clock. I’ve been eating better and taking my meds ON TIME, and at least TRYING to get on a better if not normal sleep schedule.

The morning after was tough and slow going. I had a very heavy patch of brain fog going on and it lasted quite a while too. But that was to be expected and I just made my way through it.

When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. - Dory, ” Finding Nemo “

When I woke up the next morning, I decided to take a ME DAY!

…and now I am thinking maybe it’s more like a ME WEEK. ….or 2 ….ish.

I really need to pick up some pieces and get back on track. Because believe it or not I was somewhat on track. Really, I was! December went fairly well for me in terms of getting things done.

As the holidays approached, I was able to Christmas shop, get my house back together, decorate, and celebrate with family and friends, but not without the HUGE, HUGE, HUGE help I got from Ron. (…and Leon too). Thank you, my loves!

All the clutter found a home or else it went into the trash. We cleared away piles of stuff that we really did not need any longer. And while there was/is still more work to be done, we were able to make our living space, livable and our workspace, workable again.

We decorated the house and the beautiful Christmas tree that Ron and Leon went out and chopped down, during the Annual Oldfield Christmas Tree Hunt. The house was finally a warm and welcoming place again. Everything looked so beautiful and inviting. AND PEACEFUL.

The lights are my least favorite part of decorating the tree

Awww fiddlesticks - half the tree lights don't work

We spent Christmas Eve at home with our family, both Ron’s and mine came for dinner (17 of us in total). And the thing that amazed me the most about it was how relaxed I felt. Tired, but relaxed.  Finally!!!

I love taking out my china for the holidays, it makes me feel like I'm almost a grown-up.

Can you see the tree in the next room?

I realized it was because my house was full of the people I love and who love me, AND because Ron and I had put so much effort into putting order back into our home.

Santa Ron!

My Family

My loveys

Like mother, like daughter

She's waiting for Omi to cave, an hand over the chocolate.

You blow boy!!! In a good way!

The Angel and the Devil, but which is which?

Cheers!

Cheers!

Cousins!

Much of the week that followed Christmas, was spent relaxing in the glow of the Christmas lights, watching Leon play with all his new toys. We spent some time visiting with family, Leon got to go ice skating (can you imagine me on skates, HA!), and we took our traditional trip into NYC to see the tree in Rockefeller Center and check out the Christmas Window Displays.  We ended our winter break and the year at the home of a dear friend watching the Doctor Who marathon. It was a wonderful little staycation for all of us, and it certainly ended the year nicely.

Leon and like a third of Grandma's Christmas Village

Our Tree! The lights flying off to the side are actually being pulled by Santa in his sleigh and his 8 tiny reindeer.

Leon and his Christmas haul! It was a very Merry Skylander Christmas!

Now in the midst of all that activity, I had made one big mistake. I ran out of refills for my Cymbalta and kept forgetting to contact the doctor’s office. So for about a week-ish leading up to when I completely snapped (see previous post) I was off meds.  No wonder I had been such a WRECK! – DUH!

But NOW, I AM doing better,

So to those of you who reached out, THANK YOU! AND I LOVE YOU TOO!

I am feelin’ better, so no worries. But I need to take some ME TIME.

So…   I am not ignoring you. I am just under repairs,     ….and probably not answering the phone,    …or emails.

But I loves ya!!

Oh and Happy Christmas, Season’s Greetings and a Joyful New Year to all!

Crap! I think I’m broken again

Well, it is that time of year again, I guess…

I’m screwing  up again and I just don’t have time for it. I want this new year to be a year of change for the better!! So I have a plan to implement.

Being that I just spent about 15 minutes in the arms of  Kiera, my almost 4-year-old  niece, crying as she stroked my hair and wiped away my tears. I’d say I’m not getting off to the best of starts.

Then again, if I am going to have a nervous break down, there is no better person to be around than a little angel. And she is an Angel. (it’s a plus when that little angel doesn’t get a scare when seeing her Tante  Jiji fall to pieces.)

I haven’t been sleeping regularly. My nights are getting  later and later (or earlier and earlier, depending on how you look at it). In the last week I’ve gotten to bed at 4:30am, 4am, 2-ish …I think (I was proud of myself  for that one, after all I managed to get to bed early that night.) Then it was 4am again, and 5:30am and last night/this morning I went to bed at 6:30am. It’s not healthy, I know. What I don’t know is why I am like this.

It’s as if my life runs on a different clock than everyone else’s, everything is backwards. My days, find me excessively tired and exhausted, and my body seems to work against me. I hurt physically, which  for the most part I am used to being a problem. My fibro flares are definitely worsening with each new episode as time goes on. I don’t know if it’s an age thing or a female thing or just the normal course fibro takes. Personally I am convinced that I have MS, but no one else is. So I guess I must be wrong.

Mentally I feel so freaking scattered, confused, and somewhat lost. My memory is getting so bad; …scary bad, like I am going nuts, bad. I can’t seem to string my thoughts together, let alone complete a normal sentence or have a clear conversation with someone. Even writing this right now has been difficult, it’s taken me over an hour to get this far. my thoughts and emotions are all over the place, They all want to come out but some how they are all scrambled and tangled and stuck in my brain and driving me mad. My words have been coming out of my mouth all wrong, I want to say one thing but something else completely unrelated comes out. It’s called something, when that happens, but I cant remember what it is right now (HA!, go figure)

 –Google Search– Aphasia! that’s the word, Aphasia. Do I have aphasia? Hell if I know. I am not sure of what it is exactly I haven’t really researched it. And it’s probably best if I don’t…. 😉

During the day I feel as if I am just getting through it, one wobbly step at a time. I occasionally have spurts of ambitious thoughts of productivity, but they  seem to get squashed once I try to do something about it. I get too physically tired, too easily and abandon whatever it is I am trying to accomplish. Nothing ever gets done… , not completely anyway.

One of my changes for a better new year includes changing my sleeping habits for a happier healthier me. So the plan is to get to sleep before midnight and not staying up all night long. It sounds easy right? But it is not!! And like I said I really just don’t know why I am not sleeping?

I don’t know why my brain feels all foggy and dull and dimwitted and sleepy all day. And I don’t know why it starts itself up and runs at full throttle at night. It’s as if the dimmer control on the light bulb in my head gets turned all the way down during the day and then gets turned all the way up late at night. It’s as if, my brain is at its most active and productive stages in the evenings. Seriously I feel like I am at my widest awake at night when everyone else is going to bed. AND sometimes I actually end up getting things done. Whether it be doing some writing, organizing files on the computer and backing them up, archiving my photography, and readying them for display, researching my medical and neurological problems, researching ADHD, etc, etc, etc. I am actually doing these things well into the morning. But that’s not to say that I don’t goof off at other times too. There ARE nights that I will promise myself that when Ron heads to bed I will follow, but then when he heads to bed, I just can’t, I don’t feel tired and I know I won’t be able to sleep. So I inevitably  decide to watch just one more show. If I am not feelin’ what’s on the DVR, I will find something on Instant Netflix that I am interested in watching. I if it’s a movie, I may get to bed as early as 2:30 or 3am; but if I land on a new TV series that I want to begin watching I may get so caught up in the cliff hangers, and poor me without an ounce of will-power, will end up having to watch the next episode ..and the next one …and the next one …and so on, and so on, and so on. That’s kind of how I ended up being up till 6:30am this morning (by the way “United States of Tara” – excellent show!!). I do want to add that my lack of will power wasn’t the only reason I was up so late last night. I just COULD NOT sleep. Even at 6:30am – I got into bed, and I just laid there and laid there. And I felt like I was exploding on the inside. All I wanted to do was GO TO SLEEP. The voice in my head would just scream “Sleep already, SLEEP!!!” But I couldn’t and I was just so frustrated and angry; really angry. It was freakin’ 6:30am and I just could NOT sleep.

…….eventually,  I did doze off and slept in until 10am.

So here I am now with only a few hours of sleep, and I am a total mess. The tears just keep rolling and they are not stopping!!! I just want to make them stop! They are giving me a headache that just gets worse and worse with every tear shed. Everything is making me cry. Everything and nothing. To top it off , I’ve got the crazies; my skin is crawling and I just want to rip it off, I am jittery and nauseous and dizzy. I keep pulling at my clothes and my hair, I can’t sit still, I keep jumping up to look for something, but I don’t know what I am looking for, so I sit and I cry while I write, then I get up again and I pace, and then I do it all over again. I am just so tired.

Right now I could sleep, right now in the light of day I could just sleep.  But I REFUSE!! I can’t! I won’t!! I am fighting it. My lids are heavy and they want to close, but if I let myself, how will I ever get back to a normal sleep schedule.

I have been puposely depriving myself  and withholding my naps. That is my strategy for turning  my clock back to the right time zone. And that is a biggie for me. I LOVE my naps. I NEED my naps!! Really I do, especially given my complications with Fibro and the excess tiredness and fatigue I am constantly suffering  from. Naps are a natural and necessary part of my ordinary day, even when I am on a more realistic sleep schedule. But for the last week I’ve held back on the mid day naps so my sleep schedule can match the rest of the world’s. So here I am with a bad case of the crazies; and the tears just keep falling.

Yup, I am broken all right!

Please don’t ask me why or what’s wrong. I don’t know the answer to that and it will only make me cry more. That’s what was so great about having a little angel around. She stroked my hair and wiped my tears and said ” It’s okay Jiji; it will all be okay”, ” I will stay with you and hold your hand and I will be your friend”, “And then Uncle Ron will come home and hold your hand, and he will be your friend too.”  

…Okay, okay, so that did make me blubber all over the place too! But those were good tears. Unfortunately my Angel was picked up early today and I am left here to go cuckoo all on my own. It’s probably for the best though. I am arranging for Leon to be on a playdate right after school too!

ARRRGGH! More tears ….and not so much, the good kind this time.

Where are these tears coming from? Like I said I don’t know exactly, but there are a whole slew of possibilities ..or even the combination of a few or all of them. Probably the later. Lemme see, I am sleep deprived; depressed; in physical pain; menstruating; I am self sabotaging myself; I have temporarily fallen off of my meds (and my rocker too it seems); I still feel over-whelmed by life – which is not part of my new year’s plan; I have too much to get started and I don’t know what comes first; I forget to eat until I remember and then I eat the worst stuff on earth (i.e.. A whole bag of chips for dinner) so I am probably malnourished; I can’t think straight; I have trouble staying awake during the day (even when I am on a good sleep schedule); and there has been such sad news going on all around me lately; and, and, and I am just broken, really, really broken.

An acquaintance’s husband died on Dec 23 with no warning, leaving a wife, a 7-year-old son and 3-year-old twins and barely any money to make ends meet. My close friends, Heather and Eddie are going through hell trying to get answers as to why their sweet little boy keeps ending up in the hospital, most recently being in the ICU throughout the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. My mom’s sister, my Tante Angela, died this past Monday. And just today I found out that a classmate’s, of Leon’s, mom died on New Years Eve. We had met while the boys were in pre-school, she was such a nice person and a great mom. I always have such a hard time hearing about young children losing a parent. So yes, life has been a bummer lately and the news has been really, really sad. And did I mention the whole I am menstruating and therefore I am more hormonal and cry-ee than my usual self thing?

So yeah, I think I am broken. It is definitely not the first time (and probably not my last). Today was just the day I SNAPPED!

…it has taken me all freakin’ day to write this; emotional outbursts in private and all; so I am taking my evening medication and some Tylenol PM and I am getting into bed now and I am going to pray for sleep, and a tear free day tomorrow. Good night.

Today was the day I snapped and tomorrow is the day I will begin again, to fix it.

Ahhh, just another ADHD conversation.

Me: Leon!!!! Why is there a bath towel STUFFED into the toilet bowl!!!!!!!

Leon: What, it’s not my fault! I dropped my glasses in there!

Me: !@#%@#!!!

Ahhh, just another ADHD conversation.

He's just lucky he's so damn beautiful

Getting My Artsy Fartsy On

I love handmade things and I love being creative. My latest obsession in regards to getting my artsy fartsy on is Etsy. For those of you unfamiliar with www.etsy.com I strongly recommend you take a peek. I first discovered Etsy back in 2008 while planning my sister’s baby shower. I was looking for ideas and inspiration, and I found plenty!

Weddings Products are huge on Etsy too. I found tons of inspiration for my sister-in-law’s wedding there.

These are some of the items I’ve made  for Suzie & Eddie’s wedding;

Bride Hanger for the special once in a life time gown

Wedding Signature Board in use.

Wedding Signature Board Personalized with Initials and Wedding Date

Wedding Signature Board close-up

The Toasting Glasses I made especially for Suzie and Edwin

Mr. & Mrs. Chair Signs (which I personally love love love because they can be repurposed after the wedding as wall decoration, mail baskets, etc. )

And the Mr. & Mrs. in person

My favorite creation, the personalized Cake Topper

...and with the date on the back

I was very excited to see it all put together so nicely

One of my New Year’s Resolutions involves me getting my Artsy Fartsy on in 2012. And getting it onto Etsy.

So get ready for some more coming soon

Nine Years Old and Already Breaking Hearts

A couple of days ago Leon came home from school and I could tell he wasn’t himself. Well not his, get off the bus and get the homework done right away, to get it out-of-the-way, so he can watch TV and play, self.

His ODD was in full force and rearing its ugly head. Everything was an argument or a fight, he asked for things he knew I would disagree to and then would have a huge fit when he would hear the word no. He lashed out, got fresh, and as a result he had to suffer the consequences of his actions. The consequences in this case being no video games for the rest of the day, including his newest addition to his collection; Skylanders.  He had just gotten it for his birthday the week before and was becoming obsessive about it. I felt he needed a break from it. Which he did. But the storm that came after that, resulted in a huge temper tantrum. There was yelling and crying, and screaming and runny noses, and soberly “i hate you’s”, and “i hate myself”, and “i just want to be left alone”, and screaming into pillows, and pinching and scratching at himself, and me grabbing a hold of him in my arms to cradle him and love him and keep him from physically hurting himself.

Phew! I see more and more of myself in this child every day! Memories and things long forgotten and tucked away in the far back of my mind. And now as I watch him go through so many of the things I went through in my own childhood (things that had made me feel “wrong”); and now to see him go through it, and not know how to deal with the intense emotions that come with it,  just kills me. I only hope that I can parlay my understanding and feelings to him based on what I have already gone through and cushion the blow even just a little. Let him know, he is NOT alone, there are others who understand, who get it, who have the same difficulties and differences.

This poor child carries the strain of always having to restrain and keep in check his natural ADHD impulses to do his own thing, his own way, while he is in school all day and for just long enough after school to get his homework done. The meds that he is on helps him to do that, and for all intense purposes work great, but some days are a bit more challenging than others. Sometimes the smallest monkey wrench puts a crimp in his day and throws him completely off course. It could be anything, maybe his schedule was unexpectedly interrupted, maybe he isn’t feeling well or maybe someone said or did something that he just can’t get off of his mind. What ever it is, it can cause the storm described above…

and below….

Leon: MOM! I am having a REALLY bad day! All I want is to come home and relax by playing my new game and you won’t even let me, And I am just really really stressed (pleading now, with tears running down his cheeks) PLEEEASE let me play with my Skylanders I just need to forget today happened!! Pleease!!! I DON’T WANT to go to fencing, I just want to RELAX!!! and I can’t do that if I can’t play my game!!

ME: (cradling my poor sobbing little boy whose trying desperately to sway me into changing my mind about taking away his video game privileges as a result of consequential behavior) I know you are upset, Leon. I am sorry that this hurts your feelings, but you know the rules if you get nasty with mommy you lose certain privileges and telling me you feel too sick to go fencing but just fine to play video games is not going to cut it.

Leon: I’m sooorrrrrry! I won’t do it again. Pllllllleeeeeeaaaassssseeee can I play my game. I had a bad day and besides I got some bad news at school and I am stressed about it! I just neeeeeeeeeed to playayayayay my GAME!

ME: What bad news? Do you want to tell me about it.

Leon: I just don’t want to talk about it OKAY!!! (screaming) Just let me PLAY!!!!!!

ME: eh, there is that tone again. (remaining as calm as any parent who just wants to strangle their beautiful child can)  Lets just try to stay calm and talk things out and we can see were we go from there.

Leon: If you knew this bad news you’d know why I am so stressed!

ME: So tell me about it

Leon: I don’t want to

ME: Okay you don’t have to tell me. But I am a little worried, can you tell me if it’s bad news about you?

Leon: no

ME: is a teacher involved?

Leon: no

Me: a friend?

Leon: yeah…

Me: did someone get hurt or sick?

Leon: no it’s not like that, it’s, it’s it’s just to horrible to say, I’ll write it down.

Me: (a little concerned now…. takes the folded up paper from his hand – reads his scribble and…..) (SMILE) Leon, is this what is upsetting you so much?

Leon: yes!

The note says: ” _________ has a crush on me! (It’s shocking!)”

ME: (inner voice) AWWWWW how freaking cute!!!!!!!!! (outer voice) This is flattering news, it should make you feel good about yourself. _____ is a very nice girl and she obviously has good taste. Don’t look at this as a bad thing, think of it as a good thing. I thought you liked ______.

Leon: I do! but I don’t want a crush, I want a friend!!!!

ME: All you have to do is just tell her that.

We talked a bit more about how he came to this knowledge….

Leon: Her friend came and told me, and then _____ said she was too embarrassed to tell me herself.

ME: what did you say?

Leon: nothing, I just fainted!

Ah the complexities of a fourth grader.

Today he came home in all smiles, we talked a bit before my bronchitis sent me back to sleep and he had a very nice evening playing with his dad.

I had asked him if he had spoken to ______. 

Leon: yeah, I told her that I didn’t feel the same way about her, and I asked her if we could still be friends. and she said yes.

Alls well that ends well!

I just hope ______  is okay! I mean who can blame her? My kid has always been a looker…… 

and he is an AMAZING KID to boot.

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