Just call me Jiji

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

Archive for the tag “child ADHD”

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!

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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

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.

SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!

You scream, I scream, we all screeeeeam…

That’s it nothing else, we all just scream

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM!!!!!!!!!!!

Back when I was young, about a million trillion years ago, I had a small group of people I hung  out with in high school, and  we had a brilliant way of dealing with stress.

We would get in the car and drive down to the beach at top speed with all the windows down
and just SCREAM at the top of our lungs.

I can’t tell you how good that felt!! It was amazing!!

I long for a good long scream

I NEED a good long scream!!!

Anyone want to go have a scream with me?????

{ Just FYI – This scream was brought to you by the letters N-O-T & H-A-P-P-Y  and is courtesy of my first impression of the new school psychologist – which is condescending, major-interuptus-not-listen-to-us, and blechy)

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Early in the morning through bleary eyes, I peer out across the sun lit room at my child, and a grin slowly forms on my lips as I think to myself;

I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing only his PJ bottoms, with his fuzzy blanket draped around him like an animal skin of sorts, with his long, wild and crazy hair all messed up and draped over his shoulders; he really does look like a feral child!!

He looked back at me, and I fully expected him to say “Me Leon, You Mommy, Me hunt and gather food, You wait here.” instead I got “Mooooom, I am huuuuungreeeeeey!” To which I replied, “Me Mommy, me tired, go now, ask your father to forage for food”; his reply … “you’re weird!”

Yes, yes I am!

I later opened up my laptop to look up the meaning behind “feral child” , I wanted to be sure I was thinking of the right word. Wikipedia not only spit out the meaning, but provided a picture in example as well:

Oh look!! It’s a picture of my very own sweet child!

It looks just like him!!!  At least I think it does.

It’s fitting though, and not just because he looks like a feral child with his hair all tangled, and mussed up, going in all different directions. But also, because he is a wild child at heart. And I mean that in the best possible way.

He certainly dances to the beat of his own drummer. As I’ve often maintained, he is a strong-willed child with a mind of his own, and once it is made up there is no changing it.

Such as it is with his long luscious locks, which I am happy to say, we have learned to tame (somewhat anyway).

He made up his mind to grow his hair long just short of 2 years ago in January of 2010, I remember the date because I blogged about it here.

It was late in January when he came home all excited about doing the Math-a-thon to raise money for St Jude Children’s’ Hospital and helping other kids his own age, who were sick with cancer. It was on that day that he asked if he could donate his hair to the kids at St. Judes. When we told him he would have to have a lot more hair than what had just recently grown out from his mohawk, he said he didn’t mind at all.

Leon in Disney sporting his blue mohawk

Leon's Hair as it was the day he came home and declared he was donating his hair to a kid like him with cancer

I also told him that it would probably take him a few years before he would have enough to donate. It didn’t phase him one bit. Both Ron and I  were pretty proud of him for wanting to do this, but we also thought it would not last. Boy were we wrong. It’s been two years and he still has an inch or two more to grow before he can donate it. Despite being picked on and teased in summer camp, and consistently being called a  girl by strangers, he is more determined than ever to reach his goal.

We’ve come a long way….

   He is such a beautiful child, it is no wonder strangers call him a girl

In the end it will be so worth it. And that long hair suits him, it suits his personality. And yes he does occasionally look like a feral child, possibly raised by monkeys. It was after all just yesterday that I caught my wild little child in the act of standing on his chair in the pizzeria attempting to swing on the lamp that hung above his table. But no matter how wild my little child gets or looks, he will always be MY little wild child!

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

I Nominate; My Superman

I recently found this on  ellen ;

Nominate the Amazing Person in Your Life…

Do you know an amazing person who could use Ellen’s help? We want to hear about them! Tell us all about the most deserving person you know, and how Ellen can rock their world. Maybe it’s a family member or spouse who always puts your needs before their own, a neighbor who has changed your community for the better, or even a teacher who goes above and beyond with your kids. This season, Ellen’s gonna keep giving back!
Read more: http://ellen.warnerbros.com/show/respond/?PlugID=433#ixzz1RH3DUlaq

So I decided to nominate My Superman!

Dear Ellen,

I love you and I love your show. You and your show always make my day! You are just so genuine, with a hugely generous nature. You have a way of making people feel comfortable and at ease; like spending time with a really good friend.

Well good friend, I’d like to share something with you about my family, about my husband in particular.

His name is Ron, he is a handsome devil, a smooth talker with an odd sense of humor, a sci-fi geek, who rocks my world, and keeps things balanced in our lives. And he is the most giving and amazing man I know. He always puts the needs of our family before his own.  When I met Ron, he became the man who renewed my faith in hope. In short he is my Superhero.

My family consists of Ron (39), myself (42), and our son, Leon (8)

We have a good life, NOT an easy one, but a good one, because we have each other. Things have always been tough on us financially, and we always seem to muddle through whatever life throws at us, either on our own or with help from our extended family. And for this we have always been truly grateful.

We all do our best to make the most of our lives. But no one works harder than my husband to provide and take care of our little family. I try and do my best too, but I have so many limitations, that I fear he often gets the short end of the stick.

Both my son and I suffer from disabilities that require regular doctor visits and a lot of very expensive medication between the both of us. My son has severe ADHD/ODD and I suffer from Fibromyalgia. We have a HUGE deductible on our medical insurance and given our individual medical needs it is necessary for us to come up with a LARGE sum of money in a very small amount of time at the beginning of each year. He barely makes enough money that we can usually get by living paycheck to paycheck with just enough left over to cover and enjoy the little things like the movies or Cub Scout fees for our son.  But when the big bills come in, that’s when we really struggle.

This year, so far, has really tested Ron’s limits.  Ron’s car died, and while we managed to get by with only one car for a few months we did eventually have to buy a second used car, which is already in need of repair.

In addition to our financial stress, Ron has had to take on additional parenting duties, above and beyond all the amazing things he already does with and for our son, due to the decline in my health this year.

No matter what comes our way, Ron does everything he can to make things right again. He really is a good man, and he puts his all into everything he does. As a husband he is just amazing, not only does he work hard in the office every day, but he comes home to take care of a majority of the household duties, when I can’t, due to my disability; and he still makes time to be a Den Leader in Leon’s Cub Scout troop and spend quality time with him.

Lately though, it seems as if life has really been testing Ron’s limits. My husband’s normally optimistic outlook on life seems to be dimming. Right now, Ron feels as if we just can’t get a break and that everything is getting thrown at him all at once and he just can’t get ahead. Some days I look at him and he just looks so terribly defeated, like someone had just drained him of all his energy. It kills me to see him this way.

This is a man who truly deserves a break. Not only is he an amazing husband and father but he is also a genuinely GOOD MAN!

Ellen, PLEASE help me make my husband’s life just a little bit easier.

Here we are at his sister’s wedding, which also happens to be our wedding anniversary. (I am the one with the pink hair 🙂 )

Me and my Superman!

EDITTED ON Jan 19th 2012 to add:

Hey Ellen,

Being that this IS your birthday-month; I wanted to share with you that May is my husband’s birthday month. In fact, this year he turns 40 on May 13, 2012.

You know incase the SWAGGIN WAGON is in NY around that time???

That’s a hint…. you know incase you didn’t catch it.

Love ya Ellen!!

And my Superman!!!

What the voices in my head are screaming….

I think everyone has a little voice in their head, that whispers quiet thoughts that are just for them and dare not be spoken out loud.

At least I hope that’s true, otherwise it’s just me with a voice in my head.

…and in my case, I think there may be more than one voice.

I definitely think I have a voice that whispers quiet thoughts to me; telling me right from wrong, thinking one thing but advising me to say another to spare someones feelings or keep certain things protected and private.

But there is another voice in my head, a voice that has been sounding off since as far back as 12 or maybe even earlier.

When I was very young my lips would betray me and repeat out loud what that voice would say in my head. But in my defense, I didn’t know better, my selfcontrol of such things had not yet matured, and besides that voice was always the loudest. In fact it was a screamer.

I think I developed that voice from my mom. In more ways than just one.

My mom’s inner voice seemed to always be spoken outloud and unfiltered for everyone to hear. It became the example for me early on. So nI got that voice from my mom and because of my mom.

And to this day, that voice, “The Screamer”, the one that only responds to my mother still screams out in my head from time to time.

This morning was one of those times. This is what the voices in my head where SCREAMING, this morning during a conversation over the phone with my mom this morning about how forgetful I have been getting and therefore I must be addicted to pain medication:

“Ugh, I am NOT addicted to pain meds; I am too forgetful to be addicted to pain meds, I can’t even remember to take them”

“…I don’t care what Dr, Oz says… Dr. Oz does not even know me. And neither do Dr. Phil or Oprah for that matter!”

“…STOP SHOULDING ON ME!”

“…I’ve been like this my entire life!!”

“…Hellooooooo… I have Fibromyalgia  and ADHD”

“…There are TONS of things I should do”

“…would you look in the damn mirror, and stop projecting yourself on me”

“…one newspaper article and an episode of Dr. Phil, does NOT an expert make”

“…just because you gave birth to me does not mean you know me”

“…maybe I am just forgetful because I am too damn busy and stressed from helping everyone else that I don’t have time for my own life, let alone remember what is going on in it!”

“ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

And then comes the quiet whisper;

Can you believe this woman is going to be 70!?!?

“…Aww,  just give her a break, this princess is going to be 70 in just a few months”

And more importantly;

“… I LOVE you, Mom!”

 

Edited to Add; My mom does not read my blog (hmm… she might know me better if she did) But, to those of you who do AND speak to my mom – Let’s just keep this between us more computer savvy people, okay?

LENNIE – this means you too 🙂

Never Say Never…

On the weekends it can be hard to get Leon to spend time AWAY from his video games, but we try our best. He loves to draw, and will often spend time doing that while watching TV. It tends to add up to more screen time than Ron or I are comfortable with. But when the both of us are busy around the house trying to get things done; it is easier to just let him do his thing rather than have to stop what we are doing to make sure he is entertained and out of trouble 😉 .

This weekend we enjoyed the nice warm spring weather, and did manage to get him outdoors for a couple of hours on Saturday, but nothing engages his ADHD brain out there for more than a few minutes at a time. My guess is that there is just TOO MUCH going on around him that finding focus on just one thing is just not possible.

Sunday was beautiful too, but between my migraine and Ron’s aches and pains; none of us got out of the house. By late afternoon I was asleep in the bedroom with curtains drawn and a pillow on my head to drown out any sound or light. That left Ron to deal with Leon for the better part of the day. He actually managed to get Leon away from the screen machines, letting him know that he needed to find something else to do and it could not involve anything with a screen on it.

Leon was surprisingly compliant about it and grabbed a few books out of his room and began to read. Awesome!

He loves to read and likes all kinds of books; chapter books like Goosebumps, Choose Your Own Adventure Books like Journey Under the Sea, Graphic novels like Max Axiom Science Series, but mostly he like reference books like The Big Book of Knowledge from which he can learn all kinds of new and interesting facts. They are all great books!

After reading for a bit Leon brings in “The Big Book of Knowledge” to Ron; opened to pages 26 and 27

The Big Book of Knowledge – pages 26 & 27

 

He points out the passage pictured below and says “Umm, Dad? Is this True???” 

Ron reads it, and tells him, that yes it is true. To which Leon replies; “Sounds Gross!, I am NEVER going to do that!”

**Tee Hee – this kid cracks me up! **

Never say never kiddo… but do wait until you are at least 18 

…and IN LOVE!

Oh and USE A CONDOM!

And the WINNER for My Dumb-Ass Move of the Week goes to …

Shoveling Snow!!

Well I wasn’t so much shoveling snow as I was moving it around.

We had 15inches of snow on the ground yesterday when all was said and done. It was quite a beautiful site to wake up too (see previous post)

Poor Leon had a snow day and was stuck at home ALONE with his dear old mom. That would be me – Dear and Old… among other things, like in pain and overly fatigued.

 

We spent the morning playing the Wii (well he played, I got to watch) and watching “Back to the Future”. By 11am I felt we had had enough screen time, I wanted him to go out and get some fresh air, play in the snow a bit, get some much needed vitamin D. But he just kept saying he rather stay in and play Lego. I didn’t argue it, since I had kept him home sick the day before (stomach bug).

Every so often I would remind him of how much snow was out there, and all the cool things, that he could build with it. He finally admitted that he wanted to go out but he was waiting for Daddy to come home first.

I explained that, he doesn’t get home till after 6pm and that it would be too cold and too late to go out then.  He then said “Oh okay, I’ll go out now, but it’s nicer to be out there with someone, and I didn’t want to ask you”, then he added “Well, not because I don’t want you with me; but because I don’t want you to have more hurt from the cold”

I cried inside when he said that. It’s times like that, that I really just hate myself for having fibro; and I hate that I didn’t push harder to have another child (which can also be blamed on fibro). FIBRO SUCKS!!

I told him that I would be okay and I went outside with him (I lied).

When Leon saw the neighbors having a play date with each other across the street he asked if we could invite them over to our yard. I said yes of course but I was sure they would say no. Not because they are mean kids or anything remotely like that, quite the opposite. But because, aside from the fact that they already had their own fort well under way, I think they know Leon well enough to know that he has his own way of doing things and often has his own agenda and doesn’t always compromise so well.

Leon took it in stride and just asked me to call another neighbor, which I did just to appease him, knowing they would decline too. For no other reason than they are girls after my own heart – they do not like snow. Again Leon took it in stride, and asked me to call a classmate, and then someone else, and then someone else, down the line.  You see, Leon does better one on one, rather than in a group and even then sometimes he isn’t necessarily looking for one particular person to play with; he just wants another warm body around.  –That’s a little sad don’t you think? How do I fix that???

I know a few of his classmates that I could have called, that would probably have come by, but the truth is I really didn’t want a play date at our house. I was feeling lousy and I suffer from CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) because I can’t pull myself together to clean up around here. I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, and I certainly didn’t want to have to change out of my snuggle pajamas and give up my blanket with sleeves. Having the neighborhood kids over is one thing because once they were done playing outside, I could just send them back across the street. But having a classmate who needs to be driven over, in tales a bit more work and planning. I just was not up for it.

Leon hates to be alone; he always needs someone in the room with him. He would rather read a book in the same room with someone rather than play with his toys alone in his room. The closest we get to him playing in his room on his own is if we are in the adjacent computer room; and even then, he will move whatever it is he is playing with into the doorway so he can be nearer.

I felt bad for him; even though I knew he was fine out there on his own. But the mommy-guilt got the better of me.

So there I was shoveling snow into huge piles for him to make a fort out of, fully equipped with snow slide. The snow was very heavy and there was tons of it. It was definitely my dumb-ass move of the week given how bad of a Fibro-flare I am having, especially when considering the fact that it is the snowy weather that is triggering this never-ending flare-up. Today I am paying for it big time!!!

It was a mistake, one that I knew I was making at the time I was making it.

So why do it?

This is why……

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The things we do for our kids!

Yipee Skipee it’s Halloween!

I love Halloween! It ties with Christmas as my favorite holidays..

Both are fun and festive! Christmas lets me get my shopping on and Halloween lets me get my costume on.

Last weekend we enjoyed yet another Halloween Celebration. I say another, because this year is no different from any other year, where we attend many different Halloweenie events.

Traditionally Leon gets to go trick-or-treating at least 3 times each year.  First Leon starts his candy collecting in PA at Ron’s parent’s summer retreat, a campsite on the Delaware river, that they have been seasonal members of since Ron was Leon’s age, that hosts a costume parade, trick or treating, and a Halloween party at the close of the season in the end of September. His second T.o.T. collecting is usually at Pumpkin Park, a local amusement park that opens itself up for safe trick or treating every year, however there was scheduling conflict and we did not get to go this year. And lastly we always enjoy having a few friends meet up at our home for a light snack before we roam the neighborhood on Oct. 31, forcing our kids to collect candy for our – umm I mean their enjoyment. 

This year we have a packed Halloween schedule once again. In September, we had fun at the campground as usual. Leon wore a grim reaper sort of costume because as much as he wanted to be Emperor Palpatin from Star Wars, I knew the make-up involved in it would try his patience and his sensory issues. So I nixed it for the campground. He enjoyed himself none the less.

He’s the one all in black

Two weeks ago we went upstate to enjoy the fall scenery and do some apple picking as described in my previous post.

The 3 of us collected twigs, acorns, and leaves and put them together; and Leon snapped this photo.

Last weekend I spent Friday and Saturday putting our costumes together. I’ve always enjoyed making costumes and dressing up in either couples costumes or coordinated family costumes, and luckily Ron and Leon enjoy it too. Our theme is usually determined by what Leon chooses to be and then we work around that.

Being HUGE fans of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, it was only natural that we would portray characters from the movie. I am the Lovely Sally, Ron is Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King, and Leon of course is Oogie Boogie.

Putting costumes together for Jack and Sally was simple enough. Ron’s was completely store-bought and in the interest of saving money, (along with having an excuse to wear my leather corset) mine was put together from pieces of clothing that I already own (with the exception of the wig which I borrowed). Leon’s costume of the other hand was something entirely different. Oogie Boogie is not a readily available costume, in other words it had to be made. And Leon was very specific about it looking true to character.

I spent four hours creating Oogie’s head on Friday and about five hours creating his boogie, I mean body on Saturday. It turned out truly amazing if I do say so myself, I am quite pleased with the result!!!

You’re joking, you’re joking,
I can’t believe my eyes”

Mr. Oogie Boogie, Nightmare Before Christmas

We wore our costumes to a friend’s Halloween party Saturday evening and had a blast! Leon’s favorite part was getting to watch Nightmare Before Christmas and Scooby Doo with the other kids. My favorite part was the look of surprise on people’s faces when they found out Oogie Boogie was not store-bought. Well, that and getting together with friends.

On Sunday, Ron’s parents joined us at a street fair. We went in costume to participate in a costume parade and enjoy the farmers market and a wonderful musical group, The Bari Koral Family Rock Band. They were terrific but we had to leave early, Leon was having an off day due to the previous night’s activities.

Ron, Leon, my niece Kiera, and myself

You will notice that I did not go as Sally in the pictures; instead I was an eco-friendly witch. I felt that it was more appropriate daytime attire, and it gave me an excuse to wear my green dress that just happened to match my green witches hat that I had received as a gift from my sister a year or so ago. Hmmm.. Do you think she was trying to tell me something?

This whole week continued to be about Halloween festivities for us. Leon’s school hosted a pumpkin patch for the students during recreation time on Wednesday. He was happy to come home with a pumpkin, a pint of apple cider, and some candy corn. We decorated the pumpkin when he got home from school

It’s Not So Spooky Snoopy!

On Friday, Leon went to school in costume, as did the majority of the other students in his school. The principle, whom I adore as y’all know; led a costume parade in front of the school, and invited the parents to come and watch.

Jedi Leon

It was just so adorable to see them all dressed up and enjoying themselves. Our principle by the way dressed as Sponge Bob, which I thought was great. So did the kids, they just love her! Leon was excited to come home with his “crabby patty” prize for scariest costume. Funny enough, Leon did not wear his Oogie Boogie costume.  The student’s were not allowed to wear masks, so he donned a previous year’s costume, Jedi Luke Skywalker. Which, isn’t a scary costume, however, knowing my SPD son and his issues with clothing, I allowed him to wear a pair of skeleton pajamas as a costume underneath his Jedi costume, in case all that extra fabric was too much for him. So he went to school and marched in the parade as a Jedi; but by the time the principle got to his classroom afterwards he had stripped done to his bones, won scariest costume, and came home as a skeleton.

That same evening the PTA hosted a Fall Harvest Costume Dance. We  really, really wanted to show off the Oogie Boogie costume, and even though masks were not permitted, I allowed Leon to walk in as Oogie, knowing that my extremely hyper-active, run wild as soon as he hears music, ADHD child would take it off within 10 minutes of getting there. I was right, of course, and Leon spent the rest of the evening as a break-dancing skeleton. Which is quite funny to watch! Ron and I attended in costume as well. Ron as Jack, and I as the Green Witch, once more – I figured my leather corset would raise more than a few eyebrows in a school setting.

Conga!

CIt was very nice to see some of the other parents wearing costumes as well! My favorite adult costume was the Sleestak! As for the kids, the home-made Sally was great, as was the Mini Mad Hatter, the Peacock, and my favorite Little Witch in Training (just because she is the sweetest little girl).

Sleestak and Jack rev up the dance floor

The funniest part of the evening was when the DJ called the Sleestak and Beetle Juice over to help lead a dance. Funny because, he was pointing at Ron (aka Jack Skellington) when he said Beetle Juice.

You could not see his face under that mask but I am sure Ron was cringing every time the DJ (who was really great with the kids) said Beetle juice, which he said a lot. At one point Beetle juice, I mean Jack; I mean RON was asked to lead the conga line.

Conga, conga!

 I am very lucky to have a husband who is such a good sport (and doesn’t mind working up a sweat! – that is a rubber mask he was wearing). I think he really enjoyed it too, the notoriety, not the sweating.

On Saturday, Leon and Ron started their day early. Aside from Leon’s first Drawing class, they went to the Boy Scout Jamboree for the day, which being scheduled for Halloween weekend had to of course include a Halloween parade. Unfortunately they missed the parade, but they enjoyed the day none the less.

Happy Birthday BSA!!

When they returned, we got ready for a party at the haunted house across the street. Our friends (who are also our neighbors) go all out on Halloween. The outside of their r home gets totally transformed a week or two before Halloween, and is ever-changing. The house draws a lot of on lookers. This year the theme was a Cannibal Cafe and aside from the typical masked persons scaring the bejeebers out of passerbyers, including one who chases them down the street wielding a real chainsaw (sans blade); they added a new character to the mix. The zombie chef was working up his magic for the crowd, offering up; grilled upper intestines (because the lower ones taste like crap), liver and fava beans, fried fingers, leg of Sam, eyeballs, s.o.s. (shit on a shingle), and “The Exorcist” special. He was a crowd pleaser for sure.

The Spooky House day & night

(click pictures to enlarge)

Sunday, Halloween; was a very long day for sure. We spent the morning preparing for a Pre-Trick-or-Treat Get Together at our home. I planned games for the kids to play for prizes, including the ever popular mummy-wrap game which was a ball. The kids enjoyed a few crafts, some games, some chicken nuggets and cupcakes, and spending time with each other, at about 3ish we set out on our merry way, around the neighborhood. Keeping up with the kids was a task and a half. We managed to hit quite a few houses, some of them more than once, before we made it back.

Trick or Treat!

(click pictures to enlarge)

We had been invited back to the “cafe” across the street to enjoy yet another party because this year they decided to host a party on both nights of Halloween weekend, rather than just their usual one party on Halloween night.

Par-tay!

The second night was by far more crowded and busier than the first night, with both the invited guests and the passing onlookers. The live entertainment was a huge draw. Even Ron got in on it as kids high-fived him and asked to take pictures with him.

Ron enjoying the spotlight

And now I get to suffer the Day After  Halloween Hangover….

                                                                  ….that’s okay I got the cure

CANDY!

I will not play with fire…I will not play with fire…I will no…

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Hoo Boy!! My worst fear is Leon becoming extra ordinarily attracted to fire! It satisfies the need for instant gratification and shows lack of impulse control. Fire is highly attractive to many with ADHD, like a moth to a flame, and just as dangerous.

Last night our little moth got caught up in the flame.

It was my fault completely and I take the blame and the shame that comes with it. I feel like a terrible, terrible mom for letting my guard down, especially since I should have known better.

I had received a beautiful candle from a good friend on Halloween, and I wanted to enjoy it. Being that Leon was contentedly occupied on his computer, I felt it was safe to light it in the living room, after all he was two whole rooms away. My huge mistake was not listening to my first instinct to blowing it out as soon as he went into the livingroom to watch TV. I had planned on doing just that, but he stopped me and very sweetly asked that I leave it on, because he liked the way it made the room feel. He asked me to trust him.

Ah, TRUST. My very mature nearly eight year old child wants me to trust him, I want to trust him, but not only is he a child but he is a child with ADHD. That is a hard one. I believe strongly in letting him develop his independence, so when he asks me to trust him, I want to show him that I believe in him, I want him to feel trusted. But because of his inability to control his impulses without the right parameters in place. Trust is not and should not be doled out unconditionally. Additionally trust is something that is earned and must be maintained. I believe that Leon’s ADHD adds a bit of difficulty to doing that.

He asked me to trust him. Had he earned that trust? The answer is yes. Had he maintained that trust thus far? Still yes. Had I made a huge error in going against my natural instinct to be extremely and overly cautious about trusting him with something like fire in the first place? That is a BIG HELL YEAH!

I let my guard down, that is not to excuse it though, I still own that the mistake was mine.

You see Leon is a very bright boy, he retains information extremely well. Once something has been taught to him, you can be sure he knows it!! But despite that fact, or the fact that he has been to numerous fire safety exhibits, or that he has been taught how to build and maintain a campfire properly and safely in Cub Scouts, as well as by his Dad and Grandpa; I for one have never been comfortable with the idea of a child; let alone my child, my ADHD child at that,  near a flame; campfire, candle, or otherwise. I know that any parent, or non-parent for that matter would feel the same. But the fact that I had to go through life without my father due to a fire, makes me just that much more hyper sensitive to this issue.

Leon has been around quite a few fires in his lifetime, at the campground and with the Cub Scouts. I have seen him get awfully close, but not because he was being careless (quite the opposite really), but because he was given permission too. Not by me, well not at first anyway, but by his Dad (or Grandpa) who felt more strongly that he could be trusted because he had learned all the right things to do as well as what not to do. And because they were watching him carefully. Something that I have just learned is not enough.

Despite my heart beating a mile a minute and my holding my breath every time Leon even neared a campfire; I myself began to let my guard down and trust him as the others did. In fact I even felt a bit of pride at how well he handled himself around fire and at how much he knew about fire safety and prevention.

It was that pride and a small sense of security in knowing that my son knew how dangerous fire has the potential of being, that allowed me to drop my guard and trust him when he asked me to leave the candle on.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!! What the hell was I thinking??? Seriously, I freak out when I find matches or other fire starter within his reach, but I agree to leave an open flame lit with him in the same room? WTF??

I agreed because, before doing so we went over the rules of fire safety, I could watch him and the flame from where I was sitting, and he was clearly advised that he would have to sit on the couch and not go anywhere near it!! I agreed because I hadn’t taken into account that it was already 7pm and his medication had already worn off. I agreed because I let my guard down.

HE HAS ADHD, DAMN IT! NEVER, NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!!

The result was not disastrous by any means, but it was very scary for all of us. One minute I had looked over to where he was and where the candle was and all was peaceful and the next minute I looked up and the whole candle jar was on fire. I ran over and once I had realized what had happened, I snapped. I started to yell and scream, demanding to know what he did (knowing full well what he had done) while trying to put the fire out in a panic. Ron ran into the room and managed to get it out.

Leon’s immediate response was to deny, deny, deny. To which i called him a liar. Ron put his hand on my shoulder to calm me and it worked. I then calmly told Leon that we were leaving the room for 5 minutes to let him think and when we returned he had better be prepared to tell the truth.

The Truth? He threw a kleenex on top of the flame to make it a little bit bigger.

His immediate consequence was to go to bed early, we told him that we would have to think of a pretty big consequence to match the seriousness of his actions and that we would discuss it in the morning. Before he left for bed he drew a picture of all his favorite things with a circle around them and a line diagonally across and handed it to me. He said “I really don’t want you to, but I think you should take away my favorite things for like a month or maybe 2 weeks”. We told him our decision would be made by morning.

This morning Ron and I informed him that his punishment included No Computer, No Wii, & No DS for 1 week, additionally he was required to complete a different written assignment on each day of his punishment, (today he wrote “I will not play with fire 10 times) and lastly his he has to go to bed 1/2 an hour earlier every night for 1 week.

We turned his drawing into a poster as a reminder. It is the one pictured below. We then got into the car and drove to the local Fire Station and he had a talk with one of the firemen there. I really hope this will make an impact on him. Leon suggested that tomorrow his written assignment should include making a map of our house and developing an emergency escape plan.

I am still very worried. I have been ever since the psychologist who evaluated him told me to be cautious and watch for signs of pyromania as he gets older, as it is common among kids with ADHD as severe as his is.

WHY DID I EVER LET MY GUARD DOWN?????

I now understand why my mom beat the living daylights out of me with a yard stick when I was caught playing with fire!

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11/10/10 EDITED TO ADD: Just to add some clarity to why I am/was so hard on myself and so stricken by this situation  (and to explain why my mom beat the crap out of me); – a few months before my 3rd birthday and just two weeks before my sister was born (2 months prematurely); my father died of smoke inhalation in a fire. The fire ignited after he had fallen asleep in his bed with a lit cigarette, and he was trapped in the apartment, and the smoke got to him before the firemen could.

  FIRE SAFETY IS A BIG DEAL TO US!

I Heart NY in the Fall

I LOVE Fall!!!

Fall definitely satisfies all my senses! The trees are a blaze with color, the crisp autumn breeze feels wonderful on my skin, already I can hear the leaves crunching beneath my feet, the warm apple cider smells and tastes perfect. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. And it brings with it one of my favorite holidays; Halloween.

Recently, we took a road trip via the Palisades Parkway to Upstate New York. The drive was beautiful.

We stopped at a scenic overlook along the way to take in a view of the Hudson River.The only thing more beautiful than the view was my little boy.

Leon happily posed for pictures for me, making a lot of his own suggestions along the way. which I must admit was a bit  shocking. Being someone who is a huge photo enthusiast,  having  an ADHD child, makes enjoying my hobby and having my family be a part of it very challenging.  But happily, I managed to get some truly beautiful shots of not only the scenery but of Leon too (and Ron, of course).

Our destination was Bear Mountain State Park, a place I hadn’t been since I was a child. It brought back some great memories, and gave me plenty of photo ops. We walked around the zoo, and the lake, Leon rode the merry-go-round and then we drove to the top to take in the view from Perkins Memorial Tower. It was so amazing.

 

Bear Mountain was great fun, but I really wanted to get some apple picking in. There really is nothing quite as good as apples right from the tree. Unfortunately we didn’t get to Hurd’s Family Farm in time to do any actual apple picking ourselves, but that did not stop us from having fun anyway. We played in the sunflower maze, launched apples, fed ducks, and I of course took pictures till it got too dark and then we explored the corn maze by moonlight (and flashlights). We topped the evening off with s’mores by the bonfire before heading back home.

Oh and I of course did buy a nice big bag of apples to take home.

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