Tag Archives: Tween

A post about books

OK. Let’s lighten up a bit.

My Child 1 (much to my delight) is an avid reader. I am sooooo thankful for this. He battled at the start of his school years and after loads of extra lessons and practice, practice and more practice he is just BRILLIANT at it.  I STILL get excited by the fact that he can read and I absolutely LOVE that I never have to tell him to go and read a book. It’s something that he does out of his own whenever he has some free time.

During last year we struggled to find books for him.  HE was in that transition period where many of the books were too “little” for him and at the same time, many of the books were too mature and not suitable for him.  I ended up letting him read ANYTHING he wanted just so he could continue to read. HE was reading newspapers (I was selective in what I allowed), and magazines and comics and silly joke books. They got a new librarian at the school during the middle of last year and this was the BEST THING EVER. She really helped him a lot and gave him good guidance about what was suitable for his age group. The books that she recommended were challenging but in a good way and he was DEFINITELY ready to rise to the challenge.

HE is currently into all things vampire and weird and I have to say that we don’t share the same taste in reading.  Luckily he doesn’t have issues with germs and fingerprints (like me) and loves the library and second-hand books. I love that he will always take out at least one non-fiction when he goes to the library. He is clearly his Daddy’s boy because I would never ever have thought to take out a non-fiction book when I was that age, unless it was for a school project.

Last night I was in bed doing my reading and I heard him laughing and laughing and laughing. I asked him what was so funny. He happened to be  reading something called the Goosebumps series. Which I must now apparently start buying for him. Seriously. He was laughing like he was being tickled or something!

I was laughing in bed at the way he was laughing and then I got to thinking about the books that I was reading when I was that age.

I thought I’d compile a list of my faves from that period in my life i.e. the ones that I still remember from the Pre-Teen period:

Judy Blume’s “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret”  I have read ALL of Judy’s books (I think it’s safe to say that she was my FAVOURITE author when I was that age) and I just LOVED them. I will never forget “I must, I must, I must increase my bust”…it still makes me laugh when I think about it. I grew up with Rachel and Stephanie and Allison and come to think of it, it was around this time in my life that I started to contemplate all things friendship. It was completely inspired by these three characters.

Caroline Keene’s “ Nancy Drew” series. I loved a good mystery.  Nancy was always describing what they were having for lunch/dinner and I ALWAYS ended up craving what they had. So odd!

Enid Blyton’s  “Famous Five” and “Secret Seven” – I did love Enid Blyton very much. Still do.

Paul Zindel’s – “My darling my hamburger” – a bit heavy for a pre-teen but there were so many lessons in that book for me.

Mmmm….I actually can’t remember anything else. Am pretty sure I read that whole Sweet Valley High series as well.

Interestingly enough, I was just NEVER into the fantasy/sci-fi stuff. I was more into the mystery stuff and  I tended to steer towards the “girly” and “drama”  books. In fact, I think I was even reading Danielle Steel when I turned 12! I have never ever read a comic book either. Is that weird? Child1 and my DH both LOVE their comics.

What were some of your favourite reads when you were that age? Can you even remember?

Oh, and Child2 is currently having a love affair with any book that has animals in it. And food.  I’ve been reading Goldilocks and the three bears EVERY FIVE MINUTES and then get force-fed porridge directly off the pages. Even if I say “no thank-you” I still get force-fed.  Even Peter Rabbit shares his onions or whatever with me and I’m not allowed to dislike it or anything.

What are your kids current favourites? Any recommendations for suitable boy tween books?

Do you want us at our best? – A post about friendship

My DH and I rarely socialise with our kids. There are various reasons for this but I’ll briefly summarize the main ones:

Child 1 has ADHD. While he is no longer very hyperactive he is VERY loud and does become VERY excitable when there are loads of kids around. My DH and the rest of our family and close friends understand him and we actually don’t even notice it for most of the time, but it is difficult for new people and we get that.  As far as possible I try to medicate him beforehand but it isn’t always practical, especially late in the afternoons or at night because then I’ll be dealing with an insomniac.

Child 2 has significant developmental delays and has recently been diagnosed with SID.  My DH and I are trying (with lots of trial and error) to navigate this and to figure out what triggers sensory overload for him. If I know that there is A LOT of sensory overload at someone’s home or if there are many kids of the same age then I would rather not socialise with him.

I know that this is probably not the best way to deal with the situation but right now it works for my DH and I.

We rarely take our kids to visit people if we haven’t first “checked out” the setup and the few times that we did this (i.e. socialise with them on the first date) we got seriously burned!

Also, I am self-conscious about my children’s issues, ESPECIALLY if there are other typical needs kids (mine are essentially atypical needs kids) of the same age. It’s just painful for me and makes the differences between my kids and typical needs kids more obvious.  Well, to me at least. I can’t cope with the questions and the looks and the whispers. And yes, I know that I should probably stop projecting and tell people to mind their own business but I’m still trying to come to terms with it myself so can’t always answer a lot of the “very thoughtful” questions.

Fact is, we do want to be invited back and I think our kids have the ability to ruin our social life. Sad but true.

I find that I just cannot relax when socialising with my kids, largely due the reasons that I’ve mentioned and also because I just see “danger” all around.  Yes, I know I am paranoid and I’m working on trying to NOT follow them around people’s houses to prevent an accident of sorts. I’m working hard on trying not to be that “helicopter” parent and it isn’t really going well at the moment. My DH is much better at this than me.

My DH and I are a fun, awesome couple (if I must say so myself). Both of us can converse about ANYTHING and we have a variety of opinions on various matters.  We make good jokes and we’ll even laugh at your jokes (OK I might not always get it but I’ll still laugh). We both have great manners and know our p’s and q’s. We don’t argue in public and even though we might have been fighting all the way to your house, you would never be able to tell.

We clean up well, we can party and we can do quiet dinners. We can do experience outings and we even camp now!

We can handle our liquor like professionals (well, he can – I’m usually the designated driver) and you would NEVER find either of us puking in your flowerbeds.

So I guess, what I’m trying to say is this:

If you want the best of me or the best of us, then PLEASE don’t invite our kids. Invite us ALONE. It’s just better for everyone. And if you do choose to invite our kids and we decline, then PLEASE don’t take it personally.  Because really, it’s not you. It’s us.

Having said all this, if you really want the pleasure of our atypical needs kids, then invite us to a park. Preferably one with wide open spaces and no water, because kids around water literally sends me over the edge.

I know that some people find it easier to make friends once they have kids. That has NOT been our experience,  though now that I think about it, we haven’t really socialised with parents whose kids have similar issues. Definitely something to explore during 2012.

Do you find that your social life has changed in a good way since you have kids? Do you find it easier to make friends after kids?

Because I have to say that I have NOT found it easy. I have to say that I often find Motherhood to be incredibly lonely (despite the loveliness of Twitter)  and I often find myself fantasizing about how different things would be if I had typical needs kids. And yes, I know that things could have been so much worse. And I know that my kids are healthy and thriving despite the odds.

Some days this just doesn’t make me feel any better.

 

Dear Friday, thank you for coming…

1. It has been an up and down kind of week. Is there such a thing as end-of-year blues? I think I have it. Just want to zzzz…and I never thought that I would EVER hear myself say this but I am looking forward to my camping holiday because I really need some time away.

2. I have gone online every alternate evening for the past week and I think that I will keep this up. I don’t know why I never thought of doing this before! It does mean that I need to plan better (I haven’t really been commenting on any blogs – will catch up soon) but doing this has enabled me to clean my house AND relax in front of the TV! IT’s been marvellous. I’ve been rather productive around the house and it hasn’t really felt like I am working super hard or anything.

3. I won some books for Child2 on Se7en’s blog. Am rather excited. Haven’t shopped for him yet so I think this may very well be his Christmas gift. OK. Maybe I’ll add something to that.

4. I am meant to be going on leave next week. I am sooooo behind with my work and at this stage it looks like I’m going to have to go into the office on Sunday after lunch to see what I can finish. Why is it that no one can leave you alone to finish your work especially when THEY KNOW that you are going on leave?

5. I have taken a break from Christmas stuff. We’ll put up the tree on Sunday morning and I’ll continue with everything else (cards and gifts) next week. It means that some people will get cards and gifts after Christmas. Sorry for them but for the sake of my sanity it just has to be that way.

6. The person that I referred to in this post made a breakthrough and FINALLY realised that things have spiralled out of control and that he needs professional help. Seriously. It has taken a LONG, LONG time for him to reach this conclusion and I am breathing a sigh of relief.

7. My hair finally looks proper after my Brazilian blow dry. I think though that this treatment is not for all hair types. It isn’t cost-effective for me to continue to do it every 3 months or whatever so I won’t do it again. Nevertheless, I am so very grateful that I got given this as a gift – how else would I have known?

8. We had our staff function this past week at Moyo at Spier and it was really nice. For the first time EVER I went to each craft stall and studied the products. I looked at EVERYTHING and tried to figure out exactly how they did it so I can go home and do it too! I started chatting to the woman at the mosaic stall and she gave me some really nice tips and told me where I can get materials at good prices. She even gave me details of her friend who gives a mosaic class IN MY AREA! Am totally going to follow this one up.

9. I went to a bridal shower last weekend. IT was raucous and wild. I have not been to one of these in many, many years because no one close to me has gotten married for quite some time.  When did you last attend a bridal shower and what exactly was the set-up?

10. It’s my parents’ wedding anniversary tomorrow. They will be married for 34 years. I am meant to be at their party AND at a wedding. Unfortunately I can’t clone myself so I’m running away from the wedding dinner (which starts at 5pm) and then will go to the anniversary dinner to have dessert. On the one hand I am looking forward to having a full Saturday, on the other hand it fills me with panic.

11. This week I had to explain Gender Dysmorphia to Child 1 as a little boy at his aftercare centre (age 7)  has been diagnosed with this and has now (with the support of his family) started the process to live as a girl.  I stuck to the facts and went with the “let’s-keep-it-age-appropriate-and-less-is-more” approach. I spoke about ALWAYS respecting people and their choices, whether or not you agree with them. How would you have explained this if you had been in my situation?

How has your week been?

Broken cars, public transport and couch dates

Well. We are going to be without our car for an entire week.

I’m not going to go into how we got to this point but I will say that it took EVERY LAST BIT OF SELF-CONTROL that I had to NOT say “I TOLD YOU SO” to a certain person. It wouldn’t exactly have solved the problem anyway.

Obviously we have serious logistical challenges without a car and in the end after much thought, to make everyone’s lives easier, my DH and I decided to keep the kids home from school and ship them to MIL for a longish sleepover.  Fortunately Child1 just finished exams yesterday so it worked out perfectly.

The only other solution was to put them both on the train at 6am and then fetch them and get back onto the train in the evenings. Both their schools are not on public transport routes so that seriously complicates our lives.

I work almost opposite Rondebosch station and my DH is based in the CBD this week so it makes perfect sense for us to use Metro FAIL.

We started with our new routine today and it went well.

This morning we both took a taxi to Wynberg. We live very close to Ottery Station but that train line doesn’t go past Rondebosch and he didn’t want me to go alone in the taxi.

The taxi ride was..um…interesting.  The taxi was a bit broken but at least the driver didn’t speed or anything. The trip from our house to Wynberg took exactly 12 minutes.

Then, from Wynberg we took a train. I got off after about 9 minutes at Rondebosch station. He went ahead to CT station. It was almost romantic in a way. Me getting off and waving at him when the train pulled out of the station. I just didn’t have my white handkerchief…

This evening, I waited at work for his phone call and when he was two stations away I made my way to the station to meet him in our “special” carriage.  After 9 minutes we were back in Wynberg and in a taxi to go home. It took a bit longer, due to peak hour but we were home at exactly the same time as usual.

We have just gotten off the phone with our kids now and they are having a fantastic time. Some of the cousins get looked after by MIL after school so they are certainly not lonely. Our house is rather quiet (and so clean!) and we are rather enjoying this time alone even though we do miss them. It almost feels like a holiday. We’ve just had a quiet dinner and will be relaxing  in front of the TV just now. Such a pleasure!

All in all, so far so good (EXCEPT THE MONEY THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY FOR A WORKING CAR).

Having said that, there  is one thing that I’m feeling really bad about.

Child2 is having his concert on Friday. I informed his school that he wouldn’t make it as there was no one to bring him and fetch him.

Initially I didn’t feel bad about it because, you know when you go to school concerts and there is THAT ONE CHILD who is inconsolable on stage?  So inconsolable in fact that the child in question needs to be removed from the stage?

Well my Child 2 has been that child for the past two years. He gets serious stage fright and FREAKS OUT COMPLETELY!

It has never been a big deal to me or my DH (they usually bring him to us and then he does his little skit/song for us – a private show and all)  but now I keep wondering if things might have been different this year.  He has made lots of progress in EVERY area of his life so what if THIS was the year that he would hold his own on the stage?

What if this was the year that he actually enjoyed himself and didn’t get any stage fright?

No use crying over it, I suppose. It is what it is.

When last did you use the public transport? You should try it sometime. It’s one serious adventure.

In fact, I’m planning to take my (very sheltered) kids on a train trip (or a bus trip) very soon.

Should be fun.

Hope you had a fantastic Wednesday. My DH is waiting for me for our couch date so I am signing off.

Night.xxxx

Ten on Tuesday

  1. Child 1 had his first experience of watching a movie after having read the book. He was bummed that they left so much out (as they do) and I have to say I felt really bad for him.  The movie in question was playing on Saturday in the afternoon and I forget the name now but it was based on a Anthony Horowitz novel that he read about a month ago.
  2. Child 2 just spoke so many words this weekend!  I just LOVED that I actually couldn’t keep up. Even my DH commented that he seems to have made tons of progress these past few days. On Saturday he  walked right past the fancy potty that I bought him and went straight to the loo – he even knew to lift up the seat and I was besides myself with excitement. Baby steps. One thing I’m noticing is that he has become rather nasty and almost catty. He whines, he shouts, he back chats, he pinches, he kicks, he grabs stuff from us, he throws things at us,  he is stubborn (refuses to eat when he doesn’t get his way and WON’T apologise if he is wrong) and he even rolls his eyes at me!  I am assuming that he picks up these ugly habits from school because there ain’t none of this vile behaviour for him to emulate in my house. I don’t like it, I absolutely won’t tolerate it and I sent him to his room more than once this past weekend.
  3. I need to be more clever about knitting gifts for people, simply because I don’t have the time. I am currently in the middle of 5 projects. FIVE! They are not big things but they are all things that I haven’t done before like cabling etc. I am overwhelmed by it and this means that I don’t get to enjoy the process because all that I am thinking about is getting done! That is not why I knit.
  4. I went into my craft shop on Saturday and I have decided that I’m done going there because I saw a cockroach. Seriously.  The woman who works there even killed it in front of me! Child 1 kept telling me (in his loudest voice – he obviously thinks that I am deaf and that I can’t hear him when he is next to me!) that there were cockroaches (he is just like a girl and very nervous of big spiders) in the shop and I kept thinking he was referring to a toy because they do sell some toys in that shop. I am not funny about spiders or anything but I made her refund me my purchases and left there without anything because  I was not going to be carrying no cockroach eggs into my home. Need to find a new craft shop to frequent. Any ideas on craft shops in CT preferably in the Southern Suburbs?
  5. In my wildest dreams I never, ever though that I would hear myself say this but I can so see myself being a SAHM.  I just can’t fit my after-hours life into a few hours no matter how well I plan. I feel like I am missing out on a lot of time with myself and time to make stuff and garden and run and experiment with cooking and yoga and kids stuff. Does it sound like I will have more than enough to keep me busy if I don’t work? I think so.
  6. I managed to book (and pay for)  a holiday for my little family.  We are going camping! I am excited AND nervous and my DH and I are making lists like mad. This weekend we are getting everything together that we will be needing.
  7. I am having my hair “Brazilianed” this weekend  – I’m referring to the hair on my head. I am nervous as I don’t usually allow anyone else (except my beloved friend Janine) to do any cutting or chemical stuff on my hair. I didn’t tell her what I’m planning and it feels like I am cheating on her. Do you get attached to your stylist?
  8. I stood up for myself a bit this past weekend. I went to person B that I referred to in this post and told her in no uncertain terms what I thought of her comments. Things are a bit weird between us for the moment but I’ve no doubt that it will pass.  Another person (male family member aged 60-odd) told me that I’m getting fat again. In front of people. I told him (in front of those same people) that I’m actually on my period and that it was all bloatedness and water retention that he was seeing as fat, but that I loved that he was concerned enough about my health to mention this in front of all and sundry.  That didn’t go down too well (there was that uncomfortable silence) and I think he won’t do that again.  I keep thinking about Dr Phil who always says that we teach people how to treat us. Well, I am teaching them that I am all about the respect and nothing else. Oh, and I told Person A to SHUT UP! Of course that didn’t go down so well either as I’ve effectively invited two new (and unwelcome) friends into my life: Friend A = CONFLICT and Friend B = DRAMA. Need to apologise but maybe this will be good so we can talk about it some more.
  9. I’m still waiting on the OT report for Child2. She told me that she would be done in a week. It’s been more than a week. I’m thinking of waiting till Thursday and then calling/emailing her to see what the story is. Am I being unreasonable with this?
  10. Our car is currently broken. Something about cambelts and timings or whatever. What this basically means is that we have to fork out a lot of money (thank goodness I already paid for my holiday) AND that we are without a car for the week. This annoys me too much, so much so that I can’t even talk about it. Maybe I will blog about it tomorrow.

So. How was your #BlackTuesday?

 

The peer pressure – she is making an appearance

I have been very lucky with my Tween boy so far.

He is still very child-like and loves to play outside and with lego and build puzzles. He can entertain his little brother for hours and is definitely not your typical 11yr old. He is a very childish, playful Tween and quite frankly I prefer it this way. He doesn’t even have a mobile phone and if I were to get him one he would only be interested in playing games on it.

Even though he sees me using various social media he hasn’t really shown any interest in it.

I know that many parents allow their kids to have a FB page and a Twitter account and to use other media. I get that there are good reasons for this like having overseas family for example.  I am not judging them, but if I’m completely honest, it is not something that I am completely comfortable with for my child at this point.

I really would like him to be a child for as long as possible and I believe that social media may possibly take that away from him sooner than I feel is necessary. I do think that social media can be dangerous for a child and I would have liked him to at least be in high school before we consider this.

Some months ago he asked me for a FB page. I told him that his Dad and I would discuss it and get back to him. My DH and I discussed it at length. We know that these are different times and that it really is only a matter of time for before this happens. I do understand how it feels not to “fit in” with your peers. I also understand that technology is one of the ways for him to fit in without me having to necessarily break the bank.

I wasn’t completely OK with the idea but was prepared to give it a bash (obviously with lots of policing and controls). My DH felt that if we needed to police it then it meant that he wasn’t ready and that we should possibly reassess this in about a year.

We made a decision that media would have to wait and discussed it with him. He understood it and was OK with it. We never spoke about it again and that was that.

After we had that conversation with him,  we set up an email address for him as we felt comfortable with this. He basically only emails my parents and some of his classmates – really arb stuff like “we are having chicken and roast potatoes for dinner”. He does subscribe to certain newsletters (from ToysRUs and Canal Walk etc). And he enters competitions. My DH and I can live with this.

As with everything else, there are rules with the email. He knows that it is not a right for him to have email (or internet access for that matter) and that it is a privilege that can be revoked at any time. His room needs to be clean, homework needs to be done and checked etc. BEFORE he can check emails in the evenings. Also, there needs to be an adult present whenever he goes online. SO far we haven’t really had any issues.

Last week, he got a mail from a girl in his class – we’ll call her Nelly. He seems to really like her and is always telling me things that she told him. I’ve met her before (he introduced me to her at the Market Day last year) and I felt OK with her. I am not 100% OK with her at the moment (I wish I could tell him but then he won’t share with me anymore!) because I found out from my son a few weeks ago that she kisses boys! Call me old-fashioned but I am not quite OK with an 10yr old French kisser girl being my sons friend! Ugh. I obviously need to get over myself!

Anyway, Nelly sent him an email inviting him to FB to view her pics. He asked me to show him how to do this. I logged into my FB account and went onto her profile (which was NOT LOCKED btw – stuff like this REALLY makes me angry) and we looked at a few pics that she took with her mobile of some kids that they were at school with.

He asked me again about a FB page. I re-iterated that we had spoken about this before and that it was something that would have to wait for a while. He insisted that he is the only one in the whole school who doesn’t have FB. Sound familiar?

We then checked Nelly’s friends out and I asked him to identify all the people on her friends list who he was at school with. There was only one person. He asked me if I could speak to his Dad about it again. I told him I would but that I doubted that we would change our minds.

I am a bit torn about this. I don’t want it for him and at the same time I don’t want him to feel left-out. I don’t think that FB is for children and at the same time I think that with some guidance, he will be able to manage it. I feel that at some stage we need to show him that we trust him to make sound decisions and use good judgement.

As an ADHDer he has exceptionally poor social skills and I really would like us to do some more work on this before dipping our toes into the social media pond. Also, he has this habit (much like me I suppose) to get totally into something and lose all perspective of everything else in his life.

I haven’t had a chance to speak to my DH again (actually we don’t need to speak about this because we have already made a decision about this and WILL stick to it) but this is what I need to know from you:

Am I being unreasonably strict with my tween son about this? What do you think about kids and FB? Would you allow your 11yr old to have a FB page or a Twitter account? If you do have a child using social media how do you police it? What type of controls do you have in place?

Ps…a random interesting fact: I mentioned this in the office and was told that I am being unreasonably strict with him about this. I then put this matter out on Twitter and most of my followers completely agreed with my thought process on this. Those who did have kids on FB had VERY strict controls in place and were very consistent about enforcing them.

Pps…I was catching up on blogs in my reader earlier this evening and read this post from Jon Acuff which really made me think – not just about FB in relation to my kid but FB in relation to me. Perhaps I am in denial about how FB will affect my life in the long-run but I have to say that I didn’t quite see it like that. Right now, I am working on consciously trying to remain aware of this.

 

Thursday things

  1. Thank you for your beautiful comments on my previous post. I wrote that piece at the end of last week immediately after I read this one from Cat. I cried when I wrote it. I cried even more when I read your comments. Thank You.xx
  2. Boot camp is happening three times a week and is killing me slowly. Next week I will add an afternoon run as well. I have finally  discovered my stomach muscles which I completely forgot I had! At the moment they are VERY SORE. I can’t cough, sneeze, laugh, stretch or yawn.
  3. Looks like my DH is off this weekend. You cannot possibly believe how much this thrills me. We are taking the kids out in the morning and will hopefully have some alone time in the afternoon to talk talk talk and talk some more. And of course we will eat like pigs!
  4. My Tween is going to be paying half of his holiday Judo club fee and I’ll pay the other half. He is VERY excited about it and actually so am I.
  5. I need to find my MIL something to do. Any ideas? My FIL was her whole life and now that he’s not here anymore she is kind of at a loss. What do old people do for fun besides babysitting their grandchildren?
Anyway, I hope that your Thursday was fabulous. It is raining outside and the wind is howling! Hopefully Spring will arrive in Cape Town by the end of October. Am about to get into bed to read. And pin.
x

ADHD. Anger. Acceptance

I have mentioned before that my Tween boy has ADHD. I don’t think that ANYONE can fully understand what it is like to parent a child like this without having been in the situation themselves. Unfortunately you will only truly get it if it is your reality.

I had a normal, healthy pregnancy with my Tween. I ate all the right food, I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke. I gave birth naturally and without any drugs, I breastfed, I bought all the best educational toys, I read to him. I nurtured. In other words, I did all the “right” things. My child slept well and even though he was a poor eater I didn’t worry too much because he was thriving. I really enjoyed the new baby stage with him. He was so, so easy. He was emotionally secure and I could leave him with one of his Grannies and literally come and go as I pleased. His milestones were all earlier than normal and he was speaking in full sentences from about a year old.

At some point I felt that something wasn’t quite right. Call it a hunch, call it instinct or whatever. I just felt that something about him was a bit off. HE was exceptionally busy – I thought this was normal though and I didn’t have a child before so had no real frame of reference, and I noticed that he couldn’t hold a crayon properly. I noticed that his drawings were all over the place and when I asked him to draw himself one day it was clear to me that there was simply no order/structure to his thoughts. I think that this raised the alarm bells for me.

I raised my concerns with the people in my life who told me that I am imagining things and that I am expecting too much from him. Everyone told me that he was perfect and a typical little boy. Still I couldn’t let go of this niggly feeling that I had. I phoned an OT and explained my concerns. I told her that he seemed to be unable to complete tasks, he couldn’t hold a pencil etc and I also discussed other things with her that were bothering me. I was referred to an Educational Psychologist who after an intense assessment officially made the diagnosis when he was 4.

I’m not going to discuss in this particular post the steps that we took from that point – this is a whole series of posts.

I am however going to discuss how I came to the point of acceptance.

For a long time I was very, very angry about it. The more I researched and dealt with people who were ignorant and didn’t understand, the angrier I became. How could this be happening to me? I had looked after myself when I was pregnant and I had done ALL the right things. Little things started to annoy me. Things like seeing pregnant women who smoked and who used drugs during their pregnancies going on to have perfect children who didn’t need any form of intervention.

I was angry with God about it. I prayed for my unborn child throughout my pregnancy. I was very specific about my prayers for him. I didn’t ask for a child with blue eyes and fair skin. I didn’t ask for a Nobel Peace Prize Winner. I didn’t ask for an Actuary or a Scientist or an Astronaut with red hair. I very specifically prayed/asked for health for him. Health in body, mind and spirit. I felt like my prayers weren’t answered. Surely if he needed to be medicated in order to do something as basic as paying attention or to assist him to focus on completing a task then he was not healthy in mind? At the time, that was all that I could see.

My DH however felt differently. He insisted that our prayers were answered. After all, we didn’t have a child with Down’s Syndrome or Cerebal Palsy. Our child was not blind. Or mentally challenged. Our child was not terminally ill. Our child WAS healthy in body, mind and spirit. He felt that yes, there were challenges ahead but that it was like having a child with diabetes for example, and meant that we needed to make certain changes in our lifestyle. I find it amazing how completely differently we saw it back then. I love that he was always positive about it and that he ALWAYS looked for the silver lining throughout it all.

For the next few years I went through the motions. We all did. My DH and I got empowered. We studied. And researched. And spent serious money trying to figure this thing out. We learnt everything we could about ADHD – I still read a lot about it. We made the necessary adjustments to fit it into our lives. We figured out (all by trial and error) what worked and what didn’t as well as which types of situations were conducive to his issues and which were not.

And I prayed. All the time. Every single day I prayed for healing of this “thing” that we were dealing with. I saw this “thing” as my enemy and I wanted it out of our lives. All I wanted for my son was boring and normal.

Two years ago I saw a Psychologist for PND. We spent about 7 sessions discussing this very issue. I cried a lot (and yet I thought at that point that I had come to terms with it – clearly I hadn’t) and I spoke a lot. I went back and forth with it. After one of our sessions she gave me homework. I was to write my son a letter and list EVERYTHING that I loved about him.

Somehow this was a turning point for me. I wrote that letter with tears streaming down my face and finally realised that he was perfect in every single way. It finally hit me that we all have a form of disability and that not all our disabilities are obvious or of a physical nature.

I wondered if he would have the same sunny personality if he didn’t have ADHD. I wondered if he would be the innocent child that he was (the one who cried when we killed spiders) if he didn’t have ADHD. I wondered if he would be the same good-natured, compassionate boy if it wasn’t for the ADHD. I wondered if he would be as brilliant and creative and dynamic as he was if it wasn’t for the ADHD.

It was at this point that I finally realised something. I needed to stop praying for it to disappear. It is part of what makes him who he is. It is part of what I LOVE about him. It is part of what makes me love him the way I do.

Nowadays I pray for strength and for courage to stand up for him when I need to, and for wisdom to help him manage his condition into adulthood.

Because I realise that ultimately, he will be fine. He will be a fully functioning adult with a few challenges (like all of us) but he WILL be fine. He will cope. He will fit into society. He will contribute to it in a positive manner.

And he will love the way he is loved.

Completely.

Madly.

Deeply.

Unconditionally.

Sacrifices

When we become parents we are all aware of the fact that there is going to be a degree of self-sacrifice.

As a Mom, you forgo the pair of Nine-West boots that you are admiring because your kids need jackets for winter – you get a much cheaper pair from Edgars instead. You buy the Rimmel range of make-up instead of the Clinique or the Estee Lauder range because maybe your kid really wants to ride horses or do gymnastics. You do a facial ONLY once a month instead of every weekend because there are other priorities when it comes to the kids (or your spouse). Mostly we don’t think about it – well at least I don’t think about it.

You just kind of do whatever you need to do and take it from there. You adjust to your “new normal”.

We don’t just make material-type or financial sacrifices. We make sacrifices in ALL kinds of ways – including with our time and our emotions.

This past weekend I couldn’t attend my guitar lesson AGAIN. I had to wait for my DH to finish work and he ran overtime. Today I couldn’t go to Boot Camp (that I paid for btw…) because he unexpectedly had to work late and there was not a single other person available to fetch and watch my kids for just one hour.

I could not have my hair seen to this month (it needs to be relaxed, cut, highlighted etc because it is currently DISGUSTING!) because my Tween boy needed shoes for school AND a pair of sandals AND a partial summer uniform upgrade. He also needed some other craft stuff because we had to build something for a Technology assignment of his – such a ridiculous assignment which was essentially not budgeted for.

My Toddler also needed a pair of sandals and some shorts which I bought.

For the most part, I don’t mind the financial sacrifices too much. I know my kids need these things and I really don’t mind buying stuff for them.

I know it will pay off and I know that it won’t be forever. I chose to have kids and so, yes I have essentially made my bed and should lie in it or whatever.

I do have more of a problem when it comes to sacrificing the little free time that I have. Especially if it has to happen due to reasons beyond my control.

I do feel like the self-sacrifice is getting WAY out of hand! If feels like I am the only one sacrificing (money AND time) and like everything happens at my expense.

I feel bad for feeling resentful about this but it is seriously starting to annoy me. I know that I only have myself to blame for this – I have essentially allowed it to go too far. When my husband was unemployed I took on a lot of the money stuff – it was necessary at the time and I really didn’t mind it. However, things have essentially stayed the same since then. Only now I also have less time for myself.

So this is my question: At what point does self-sacrifice become too much! Is there such a thing as too much self-sacrifice for your kids/spouse? Is the self-sacrifice factor a balanced one in your relationship with your spouse/partner? OR are you a doormat like me who seems to make most of the sacrifices?

Ugh. Sorry if I am sounding all moany. I just feel so stupid about this!

5 things I learnt this weekend plus 5 little updates

Kids parties are exhausting and there is a VERY good reason I don’t take both kids by myself. Managing 1 times ADHDer and 1 times Toddler on a sugar high is no fun at all.

Family can be strange sometimes. Everyone could see that I was struggling a bit but no one thought to offer me even a 10 minute break so I could grab a snack. I went home starving. Another reason I never do this on my own.

Knitting is like riding a bicycle. I started knitting on Saturday night (Sally is doing a knitting challenge if you are interested in joining) and I briefly consulted with Google to cast on stitches and to purl. After a while it came back to me and it was all fine. I am LOVING it. Here’s a pic that I took when I got to work this morning. I’ve gone much further since then.

Don't you think it's just so pretty?

Sometimes it would help if I didn’t actually believe every single thing I read on Unisa’s website. I really should phone first and make sure that what they are saying on there is all true. I went there on Saturday morning and they were closed, even though the website said that they operate on Saturdays during registration period.  According to the Security on duty, the Saturday thing only starts this coming Saturday. What a waste of petrol!

I LOVE that I STILL enjoy just hanging out with my DH after all our years together. He is just so much fun!

Five Little Updates:

I got a totally unexpected gift yesterday from a gorgeous and oh-so-funky friend in the computer. Don’t you just love when stuff like that happens? It completely made my day. Thank You for first moving me to tears and then making sure I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. x

My Toddler had his first proper Speech Therapy session last week. He was AWESOME. There has been a marked improvement and somehow I am feeling so much better about this. Most of what he speaks starts with “I want….” or “Joel wants…” or Joel no wanna ….” I love that he tries to have a conversation with me. He has caught on to the concept of saying Grace before meals and has taken it even further. I give him a banana, he says Grace. I give him water, he says Grace. I give him a sandwich he says Grace. He even said Grace before eating birthday cake on Saturday at the party. I think he is just sooooo cute and for the first time ever I can truly say that I am enjoying him.

The woman who looks after my tween boy in the afternoon has arranged for him to go to a holiday club at a church in the area. Holiday club is from 9 – 12 and she will fetch him and watch him for me till I come home. FOR FREE. Gosh, I am just so blessed!

Yesterday morning I went to do some grocery shopping and saw that Hyper had banana loaves fresh out of the oven for R10.99. I love banana bread and of course I couldn’t resist. In the evening I made custard (from scratch because I had lots of milk with tomorrow’s date on) for the first time EVER and we had it with banana bread. It was STUNNING! Is there anything better than a warm, sweet pudding on a cold winters night? Happiness really is in the little things…

I started with some proper exercise today and OH MY HAT,  I nearly died!  A woman at work is a PT for Adventure Boot Camp. She is taking some of us to walk, run, walk, run around the Common three days a week FOR FREE and DURING WORK HOURS. This is right up my alley. She is a SLAVE-DRIVER of note. I am feeling OK at the moment but suspect that I’m going to be in pain by Wednesday or so. But, I love that she pushes me.

That’s it for today. I hope that you all have a fantastic week.x