The Road to an ADHD diagnosis

By now it’s no secret that Alexis has autism. I can see it in her every day life;  the small signs of autism rearing it’s characteristics in my daughter.
The confusion on her face when she sees someones reaction.
The mirror of someone’s expression I see on her face.
I see the confusion when she thinks she is supposed to be laughing, but the person she is communicating with is upset.
Her interaction with children her age is more a parallel play ground than playing with them.
The melt downs, the crying, the confusion, the frustration, the transition from one thing to another, the anger when she isn’t ready or doesn’t have enough warning about things changing.
Routines gone bad.
It’s all triggers for my girl, it’s all there yet so mild that most think of her as a goofy 5 year old. A hyper fun silly and unique 5 year old. Trust me, I see it too. Her awkwardness and silliness to those around her causes her to act out and most of the time you can’t help but laugh at her silly statements or the confused answers she gives. It’s easy to chalk it up to laughter and silliness, but it’s deeper than that.

Being around family over this past Holiday season was not only an eye opener, but a reminder that most view her as a “normal” kindergartner and probably question what in the world this “autism” diagnosis has to do with their little niece, grand daughter, cousin and friend.

What you don’t see is our behind the scenes and the way I know my daughter. When you come in for a hug and she is in a world of hurt not expecting that. She may run away, she may scream in pain and most of the time, when she receives unwanted affection, she screams.

Autism shows it’s head every day and with out warning, but what causes her  most distress is the diagnosed ADHD symptoms. She spins, she role plays, she reacts, she thinks, she hums, she sings and she moves… constantly. There is no off button, and there is no telling her to stop. To have no control over ones own body must be infuriating. To hear her cries and screams “I CAN’T CONTROL MY BODY” not only hurts to hear, but hurts to watch.

Over the last couple weeks it’s been a painful realization that not only does Alexis have Autism, but she is also going to suffer from ADHD. I guess a part of me has always known this, but the fear of what the doctors are going to suggest when we receive this official word is terrifying. MEDICATION!!

How can I medicate a 5 year old who only weighs 40lbs? She’s my little baby.

I put off what needs to happen, the doctor appointments, the therapies because I’m scared but I am doing NO GOOD with this procrastination of the inevitable.

So here we go, into 2017 with a year full of doctor visits, evaluations, debates over medication or not, therapies. In the long run these things are all good. She is so young and we are getting a head start on her future and for that I am so thankful. But I’m scared.

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Tag Team Parenting

I am married. I have been married going on 8 years this coming January and for the majority of my married life, my husband and I have worked opposite shifts. I work during the day and he works at night. It sucks, I hate it but we realize it’s what needs to happen. For the most part Monday through Friday my husband and I do a quick “tag your it” as far as parental responsibilities and to be honest with you; I feel I get the brunt of the responsibility. 

During the day is when most action happen with kids, responsibilities, demands, phone calls and basically all things pertaining to life. The business hours in our world are 8-5 and 8-5 is when the hubs sleeps. You can probably guess who gets to take on all the fun? Momma bear. To say the least – it is overwhelming and most of the time I feel like a single parent. To all those single parents out there, I give you credit, respect and a massive amount of applause because this stuff is for the birds.  

When school calls to discuss the kiddos rough day – I answer

Parent teacher conferences/activities/sports/plays – only me

When bills need to be paid – I organize and pay

Sick kiddos during the night – I wipe the snotty noses

Doctor appointments – I miss work

House is a wreck – I put it back together

The biggest and hardest is when the special education coordinator calls to discuss IEP meetings, therapies, behavior issues and any issues pertaining to our youngest during school, who has autism and takes quite a bit of our undivided attention – I attend, discuss and listen  – alone

I parent which includes disciplining, nurturing, teaching, caring and all things involved – by myself 

The list could go on…  

What bothers me most is, this is not what I signed up for. When I got married and had children I was excited to start on this adventure with a partner, someone who I could lean on to take some of the stresses of life. That is not at all how things have turned out. Now, before I start making all my readers, if there are any out there assume that I am bashing my husband … he does what he can do. He makes the big bucks and his contribution is often monetary which I am more than thankful for. We wouldn’t have all we do if it wasn’t for his contribution.

More times than not he works 10 to 12 hour days at a very labor intensive job, rightfully so – he is exhausted when he comes home. Sleeping during the day is not at all like sleeping during the night. Naturally, our bodies don’t understand what you are trying to do so the quality of rest just isn’t there. When he does have some awake time during the week before work – he will do what he feels is sufficient around the house. Reality of that is, the impact those things make on the function of our life, is minimal. (((I’m sorry hunny – you know I love you))) 

At one point, or should I say many points in our life – these things have caused major issues in our marriage. I am not ashamed to say that we have been at a point where divorce was our only option. We have been so close that all it took was signatures to finalize that. When you risk losing everything you have built for the last 10 years you tend to look at life a little differently. You actually think about your decisions and what that decision looks like on the other end. With every action is a reaction, a ripple, a mark on your future and on your children’s future. I am thankful that many long talks, many heart breaking crying fests have changed mine and my husband’s outlook on life and our marriage. We don’t look at quitting as being an option anymore, we look at sacrifice as being something you do.  

With that realization has come acceptance of our roles. Just as I get to be there for my children every single day, my husband misses out and it hurts him. For example – this week marks our oldest daughter turning 10 years old. That is a HUGE milestone that he had to miss out on. He didn’t get to see her on her birthday, he didn’t get to go out to her birthday dinner, he didn’t get to see her excited when the workers at the restaurant sang , “Happy Birthday”. He likely will miss out on her birthday party over the weekend as his work has called mandatory overtime. The reality of “tag team parenting” is ugly and someone ends up missing out and that someone is dad. The girls miss him. I miss him, but this schedule is what needs to be done. I have accepted that I am the one who takes most of the weight of our life and he has accepted he will more than likely miss out on important moments.

 us

This life is definitely not made for everyone. There are moments, few and far between where I get a quick feeling of strength. I look at all I do and think, wow I really am doing a lot and I’m actually doing OK. Most of the time I am left feeling inadequate. I wish I had more energy in a day and I wish I could do EVERYTHING each of my children want me to do. Fact is – I have to know my limits because living as a single parent Monday thru Friday leaves me exhausted. 

We sacrifice and we push through so we can appreciate those two days a week (sometimes just one day) where we are together, all four of us and we soak every last minute up. I’m proud of where we have come in the last 10 years and if we can beat the hurtles that have been placed in our way, we can make it through anything.

Tag team parenting isn’t easy – but it’s worth it!