Why we medicate.

No topic on parenting has been as hot button to me as medication.  Two of my children need medication and I have heard it all from unthinking people over it.  Some are honestly uninformed and just don’t understand and others choose ignorance.  Regardless of this they still feel the need to project their opinions on my children as if they had any idea what it was like parenting my kids.

First though lets discuss the misconceptions.  The one that bugs me, the one I hear whispered the most and the one I sometimes hear right to my face is that medicating is the easy way out.  If there is one thing I can say with all honesty is that medicating is anything but easy.  First the decision to put this in my child’s little body.  That was the hardest.  To introduce a medication into their system that we can’t have a perfect understanding of simply because we haven’t been medicating children for long enough to understand all the long term effects.  The next step is getting a dr to agree with you that your child needs medication.  Despite everyone’s claims that this is as simple as asking, it is not at least not through my pediatrician.  There were evaluations, referrals, more evaluations and then the agreement.  Then lets talk about getting the pills.  For certain classes of medications you have to have a paper copy of the prescription taken by courier to the pharmacy.  These medications are often name brand only so if you don’t have insurance that’s hundreds of dollars for 30 pills.  If you do have insurance its the highest co-pay which for us is 30 dollars.  That’s not chump change when you multiply it by 2 for the amount of kids I have on medication and something the need for other medications with it, depending on your child’s needs.  Next is the task of actually getting them to take it.  Which can be tough.  Kids don’t like taking pills.  They fight you on it.  If you drop your guard and don’t watch them take it, you might end up with a drawer full of pills which is also like a drawer full of money.  I can say without a doubt that medication is one of the most exhausting parts of my day.

Next is the “zombie” misconception.  My son was on a medication that made him excessively sleepy but he was never check out.  He has always been a napper so it wasn’t a huge difference for him to still be sleeping a lot.  I have yet to find any medication on the planet that makes my daughter sleepy.  From cold medicine to her stimulants nothing makes her tired.  What it does is calms her brain down enough to focus.

So with all this, why do I medicate my kids?  Because they need it.  Because I understand because I need it.  I need medication to keep from being depressed.  I know I am a better version of myself on medication and I know that my children are better versions on theirs.  I also know that the only people that medicating them affects drastically are the 5 that live under my roof, so I have never understood why it is that people get so fired up over it.

About THAT kid….

I recently read this and it made me a little pissed.  Ok, a lot pissed.  This is why…

What I can tell you about THAT kid is that my child has been his target since kindergarten. THAT kid gets compassion and a million chances and with each and every one runs over and throws my child’s favorite toy that he brings for comfort into a mud puddle. He throws my child’s lunch box over the school fence. While I try to explain to my hurting child that it isn’t about him THAT kid rips up the drawing he made for me.

What I can tell you about my child is that he started having anxiety attacks in kindergarten, by first grade he was self harming, by second he was convinced that he couldn’t breath because of asthma attacks that were really pure anxiety attacks so raw that he wasn’t breathing and causing his 02 saturation to drop. By third grade his outbursts were so violent and heart wrenching that they filled my entire soul with a crushing desperation to help my son. Then he was diagnosed with Autism.

THAT kid is allowed to stand at his desk, pace the classroom, help the vice principal and be rewarded. My child is excluded from events when all his homework isn’t turned in.  He can’t bring his pets in to show off while THAT kid got to bring in his.

I have requested that THAT kid not be in my sons class.  With 4 other grade level teachers you would think that was possible but once again THAT child’s needs came before mine.  THAT kid needs human growth hormone and a high calorie diet because he is so undersized while my child doesn’t know his own strength and once in a fog of anesthetic wrestled 5 grown women into the ground.  When THAT kid finally pushes my child to the limit and he hurts THAT kid.  My child is going to be called a monster for hurting someone so much smaller than him.

I understand why THAT kid is the way he is, I understand his shitty parents messed him up.  Some of it was probably before birth and some after because his adoptive parents are children who can’t play nice with each other for the sake of their child.  That doesn’t make it better.  That doesn’t make it ok for the school to boost his needs above my child’s needs.  My son’s Autism isn’t my fault or something we can control but we are the one’s paying for THAT kid’s parent’s mistakes.

So while you are asking me to keep all those things in mind about THAT kid, don’t be surprised that I don’t give a damn.

Everyone is Perfect.

At least that is what the comments on any internet story will lead you to believe.  I just read a story about a baby being poisoned by a laundry soap pod.  The mom was doing laundry, holding the baby, and the baby grabbed a pod and bit it.  Bring on the haters cause damn this mom should have her baby taken and be shot.

Here is a sad truth.  At some point in your child’s life (if you are lucky) they are going to cheat death.  The ones who are not so lucky are the ones the internet will skewer for their recklessness.  Each one of my children have at one point gotten into, onto, out of or under something and probably shouldn’t be alive anymore.  I am not what you would call a reckless parent.  Car seats stayed rear facing far longer than recommended.  I kept them in booster seats way longer than the law requires.  I had my house safety locked like a fortress.  The problem is that people are not perfect and we all make mistakes.

Hannah’s first dance with death came when we were living in a tiny apartment waiting for our house to be built.  I was stress eating because she was teething, we were in a tiny tiny apartment and I was over it.  I had her teething tablets up on my desk along with some chocolate chips I was stress snacking on.  I went to the bathroom and she must have been laying in wait for me to leave my desk because while I was in there she climbed my desk and I walked out to discover her sitting on it teething tablets open and her having managed to hork down an unbelievable amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  After a hysterical call to poison control I learned that she wasn’t in danger of death, but she wasn’t in danger of sleeping any time soon either.  She stayed up for a good three days burning that caffeine high off.  I was must more careful after that, putting things much further out of her reach and that worked really well until she learned to use tools.  The problem is that kids are resourceful and so often under estimated.

Drew wasn’t as adventurous as Hannah but the kid was smart and a runner.  I can’t remember any near poisonings with him but he tested the limits of every door and window in our house.  After Hannah all drawers and cabinets were childproofed as were the fridge all the toilets and my house was a maze of baby gates.  I thought it was a little safer to turn my back for a moment to do such opulent things like laundry or maybe bathe.  It was the laundry that screwed me over.  Even with a child lock on the front door one day as I was in my room with the door open doing laundry the kids played in the playroom and in our very open floor plan of a house I felt like I had a handle one things, poking my head out every few minutes.  I knew they couldn’t get out of the house or into anything so I folded laundry not realizing that my toddler son would figure out how to just pull hard on the door knob cover to break it off and then unlock the door and escape.  When I questioned the builders why my door knob and lock so low, they responded that it was a safety issue and that kids had to be able to reach the knob in case of an emergency.  I noticed that it was suddenly brighter and looked to see the door wide open.  Full speed I ran out of the house before my son could even reach the sidewalk I snatched him up.  He was frantic because a truck with watermelons had driven by and he wanted one.  After that the door got a chain lock very high up.

Once Olivia came into the world there was nothing she could possibly do to injure herself.  Or so I thought.  This place was a veritable fortress of safety measures.  I was in no way prepared for the havoc that little person would wreak on my home. She was a very cherished baby being the youngest of three her older siblings doted on her and she was never out of anyone’s sight for very long.  Andrew was the self appointed baby protector and he would be damned if something happened to her, it’s just that no one was prepared for that much mischief in such a tiny little body.  She would log where each and every thing she wanted to experiment was and once the opportunity struck her feet were just blurs as she gathered all the things she wanted to destroy.  No cup of water, no plate of food, no cookie was safe from her.  She was a natural climber so we learned early that everything needed to be out of her sight or she would simply monkey her way up to it.  One night when she was three she kicked off a plan of destruction so great that it will be talked about for years.  She woke up in the middle of the night and gathered so many different things ranging from finger nail polish to vegetable oil.  there was sand from some sand art, flour from cupboards she shouldn’t have had access too.  She climbed the drawers with them pulled out only as far as the locks allowed.  With great silence she mixed together this nasty mix of sludge.  The sound of a wire whisk on a glass mixing bowl is what woke me.  The stealth with which she gathered her ingredients is what has haunted me, if the small clinking of that whisk woke me.

The point I’m getting at with all this is that I was very vigilant.  I thought through all the different scenarios and these things always just take a second.  I don’t believe for a second when someone says that their child never got into anything that could harm them.  It’s a fact of life that kids get into stuff.  Every child at some point has done something that could harm them.  They have scared the shit out of their parents and I know its a common thing because if you can think of it, there is a lock or pad or gate to protect it and that tells me that its common.  So to all the internet judges, all holier than thou, my child nevers, who are you trying to convince, yourself or others?  I know I’ve been lucky with my kids.  I’m sure for all the different ways I thought I had my bases covered there were probably a hundred more things I hadn’t even thought of that my kids could have gotten hurt.  If you need to go off on a random person on a news story, I feel bad for you.

I love you, that’a why I’m leaving.

A particular rough challenge with special needs kids is trying to go on a trip without them.  I don’t kid myself in thinking that its because I am so spectacular that they will miss me with every bone in their body.  That is true of all kids when Mommy leaves.  For kids with special needs it signifies disruption.  Their schedules will change.  Routine will change.  Daddy simply doesn’t do it the way Mommy does.  He pours more milk in the cereal or less in the cup.  He doesn’t know the hug routine for pills or the drying routine after baths.

I try to prepare them for my absence as gently as I can.  Explaining if I don’t get some alone time occasionally I might lose my ever loving mind.  I need it to be the best version of me.  I need a couple days where I hear my actual name, where no one needs me to sit on the edge of the tub and watch them poop.  Where I don’t have to stop to look at a lego creation every 5 seconds, one that looks just like every other lego creation.  Where I don’t have to explain to my pre teen daughter one more time why it is she had to grow boobs.  Where I don’t have to be the subject of all the crazy abuse my 5 yr old can dish out.

One thing I figured out a few years back is that its ok and even good to take a little selfish time for me, when so much of my time is spent on my family.  Time I happily give to them.  I know that once I’m out of sight, I’m out of mind and I don’t even feel too guilty that I am leaving my husband with two sick kids.  It’s good for him to understand my life.

Let Me Clear my Throat

So here I am, 37 years old, starting a new blog.  I’ve blogged before, before Facebook and Twitter that is.  I forever struggle with that first introductory post.  Mostly because I don’t even start my thoughts at the beginning I just sort of blurt out what I am thinking, halfway through my train of thought and expect people around me to follow along.  I’m not the best with sentence structure or punctuation so if you are one of those grammar Nazi types this isn’t the blog for you.

Ok, lets do this shit.  Hi, I’m Audra.  I’m a stay at home mom to three kids, three cats and two guinea pigs.  I also babysit a guinea pig on weekends and holidays.  I’ve been married for 13 years to my awesome husband.  He is pretty cool but I am never going to be one of those women who describe him like he just rode up on a white horse carrying a bouquet of chocolate.  I love him as is evidenced by the whole 13 years of marriage thing but I am not a gushy person.

I spend a lot of time volunteering at my children’s school.  Not because I am super PTA mom.  I am more the opposite and I atone for my shortcomings by donating my time.  I have a deep OCD like obsession with Box Tops for Education.  I am the coordinator for my school and I will literally go through your trash can snatching out Box Tops like they are little squares of gold.

I work out 5 to 6 days a week.  I guard my gym time like a rabid dog would a bone.  I’m not stick thin or even fit, truth is the gym is just the only time I get where I can go an hour without someone needing something from me.

On to the kids.  My lovely Hannah is 11 years old and best described as a hot mess.  She has ADHD, Anxiety and an eating disorder called ARFID.  I super duper love when people who have no idea what its like to live with this lecture me on it.  We knew something was off with Hannah shortly into her baby hood.  I tried to deny it until she was in school and we no longer could.  Embracing her challenges and deciding that they weren’t anything to be ashamed of was one of my most freeing moments as a parent, which isn’t to say that the road has been easy.  Parenting a child with special needs, especially ones that don’t have a ribbon and an awareness month and that most people don’t realize is a thing is hard.  It’s thankless and I get to hear all the advice from parents who don’t realize that they were dealt a different hand than I was so their advice is useless.

Andrew is my little man.  For years we marveled in his intelligence.  Everyone loved his giant vocabulary and his knowledge on all things mechanical.  With a perfectly round head, blond hair and big blue eyes and a killer dimple he could melt anyone with a smile.  He had a lot of fears as a toddler but we never realized how obsessive they were.  Coyotes, snakes, coyotes carrying snakes the list is long and detailed but it wasn’t until school started and our smart child who couldn’t wait to be a big kid like his sister started acting out that we realized something was up.  The letters flew at us but none really fit. ODD, ADHD, OCD and words like depression and anxiety.  We couldn’t figure out how a kid that was so cherished, who came from a stable loving home could be so depressed and anxiety ridden.  The school was super helpful explaining to me and voicing my biggest fears that we clearly had a dysfunctional home that was causing this and we needed counseling.  It wasn’t until a few weeks ago and three more letters that we got him figured out.  ASD, my baby boy has Autism.  While logically knowing that this diagnosis and label changes nothing, it is still a lot to take in and I would be lying if I said that I was handling it like a pro.  My inside voice has been screaming since hearing the news.  Why him, why does my sweet boy, who loves his sisters and cats and family have to go through this.  It isn’t fair.  I want to stomp my feet and ball up my fists and scream at the universe for it.  I already had to accept that my daughter’s life would be full of challenges and now my son too?  We will be ok though.  We will get through it like everything else with humor and sarcasm.

Olivia, our youngest and craziest child is our neurotypical child.  Parenting a child without any issues is sooo much more frustrating for me.  When trying to describe her words like wicked, evil and lunatic just flow out even when trying to keep them in.  She doesn’t do things for spite, she is only 5 after all, but she has an imagination and a wild streak that gets her into more trouble than the other kids could even dream of.  She is curious and carefree.  She knows that the world was put here solely for her shenanigans and she lives to the fullest.  She is so alive and vibrant that other kids tend to gravitate to her and even her siblings who bear the brunt of her pranks adore her.  She has been compared to a sour patch kid since she was old enough to first smack the crap out of someone and then smiley at them and tell them she loves them.  She thinks that Jaws, Godzilla and Tom (From Tom and Jerry) are the victims.  She hates her curly hair, she loves her best friend and her kindergarten teacher and most of all she loves her family.  For all the complaints I make about her, I can’t help but love her spirit and admire her zest for life.

So in a nut shell that is me.  I need an outlet to verbally vomit my thoughts and this is it.  Thanks for stopping by.