March 7, 2011

The shoe is on the other foot.

Just another Saturday night being silly.
In my past life before my beautiful children, before my nice existence in the Human Resource world, I was a preschool teacher.  During those times I saw many children and their parents through some rough times as well as some great times.  The rough times were always when I had observed something that was troublesome, something that was a marker for development that wasn't being met.  I would jot down what I observed watched like a scientist.  I would compare to the markers of development and how that was fitting into the dynamic of the group and of the development of the children as a whole.  Delivering news to parents that there was a concern was always done in a respectful and very thorough way.  These were small children, and I was with them most of the day.  I saw things that maybe their parents did not see, or did not want to see. I had one parent many years ago tell me that what I saw was nothing, that I didn't know what I was talking about. Years later I heard that this young child did not get the help he needed then and that the child, now a teenager was being reffered to special needs classes.  I just thought of all the years that could have been easier for this child, had this parent not taken what I was saying as an insult on their parenting. 

I have always known that if the shoe is on the other foot, your opinion can change, especially if it is your own child.  This actually took place at Thing One's yearly doctor's appointment when he was two.  I had always observed that Thing One was always moving, fidgety and increasingly impatient. I figured it was a part of being a toddler. Even as an infant he couldn't be held more than a few minutes without wiggling and moving going on.  While waiting for the doctor Thing One was wide awake from a nap and full of his normal energy.  He was playing tag with the doors, fidgeting through the clothes I was taking off of him and I was exhausted.  All this at noon, exhausting.  First time mom I just thought he's just energetic.  When the doctor came in she observed what I had been use to seeing on a daily with Thing One.  She asked me if I had any question ran through his chart and did the normal check ears etcetera.  Then she said it after watching me get him two or three times to get him to sit and to focus a little.  "We have parenting classes for a high energy child if you are interested".  I recognized the tone and the message.  I asked "What do you mean? Do you think it's ADHD?".  It clicked, I saw it too.  His energy level his loss of focus, or was he just being two?  PANIC.  I think I started to breathe harder and I probably even was pale in the face with this news.  The doctor just said "He is at the high end of energy, I have observed so far.  I have a son just like this.  We won't test him until he is older, if this continues".  I felt like I had been hit by a million brick and I was ready for my knees to buckle.  I was the parent this time.

What I did I do you ask?  Well I didn't ignore what the doctor had said.  I read a lot, I observe when Thing One is in a group of children.  These are all things I was taught to do.  I don't want to ignore the signs, I don't want Thing One to be a teenager and be struggling when I could have taken note and helped along the way.  I do realize that all the things I can do from now until the test may not make a huge difference, but it's being proactive and not letting things for him slip away.  I may not like the prognosis, but there are things I can do and try to be prepared for him to thrive.   There is a lot of guilt that goes on sometimes and I often see my behaviors and wonder if he is this way because of how I am or what I did during my pregnancy.  Then I realize this is not conducive to helping him. 

This is a clip from the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin.  Never had this made more sense to me as it does now.

In the end, it doesn't matter if he has ADHD to me, it matters that I did something to try and help him along the way and that this is livable and we will make it through no matter what.
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