Q & ADHD

I’m not technically a professional in the sense that I would have numerous degrees in child psychology or genetics. In fact, I prefer to be considered a writer first and a laborer second. However, I have a careers worth of on the job experience with ADHD, OCD, ODD and various other acronyms.

I’ve heard all of the questions people have. I’ve heard every negative comment. I’ve heard every positive comment. I’ve witnessed the best and experienced the worst that these acronyms offer (I’m not being literal when I say “everything.”) So, here’s a Q&A for parents or siblings or friends that have questions from a guy that lives around it. If you have an added experience or advice for a person with (acronym here) then please comment. Same goes for further questions.

Q. Is MEDICATION bad/good

A. I first encountered ADHD with my brothers who were nearly teenagers when I was born. Neither were taking any medication and that was in part due to the options at the time. Many years ago a “professional” would typically give a large dose of Ritalin which would essentially null even the personality of a child. In today’s time, any medicines given are started at very low doses especially any deemed a narcotic. The sole intent now is to help the child focus, stifle obsession, stifle defiance, help concentrate, help… well, help (assume I’m referring to adults as well going forward.) Each person’s acronym, whether spelled the same or not) is different. If you decide to give medication to your child then the doctor should be starting very slowly. IT IS A PROCESS. Please, I would ask that you show patience but I know well how stressed you may be so I’ll ask this instead. Pray. Trust the process.

Q. You think he’ll grow out of it?

For a little context about Auggie’s Deddy, me, I have a character flaw where when I’m asked a question/spoken to or startled I’ll immediately have a “get bent” look on my face. If I don’t want to even entertain the question I’ll just say…

A. No… well, not entirely no but it’s how my children’s brains are constructed. My hope is that they learn how to drive the high horsepower vehicle their in. My brothers, my dad and mother all had/have a version and they all coped or are coping. It’s absolutely possible that they will find control but they’ll never “grow out of it.”

Q. How do you discipline?

A. That’s a difficult question to give a concrete answer. Here’s what I do (disclaimer above)… My discipline is fluid. I do what I can to stay in tune with them. A time out? Spanking? Grounding? Any of those may work great. Really. Keep in mind that ADHD and others can cause “milk in the cupboard” syndrome. The best case I saw of this was with my son when I took away his gaming privilege. He was around six and this was before any medical help. Simply put, he eventually forgot about it existing. His brain wasn’t going to waste time on something that couldn’t be had and as soon as that was apparent… it was milk in the cupboard. Attempt to understand what really drives them and what they really want. Also, timeout never worked with Auggie. His best toy is his imagination and the thoughts of what’s to come. He can even “milk in the cupboard” an activity. It’s fluid, simply put.

Q. How do you do it?

A. No. I don’t do anything but view my child positively or negatively. I get the slight. Not cool. He’s my best friend. Get on with that.

Q. Aww, isn’t he just being a kid.

A. No. It’s not a question about him. That is a question for the parent. An ignorant person is telling you that your child, who may possibly have terrible grades or who lacks social skills and can’t even color a full page in a coloring book before…(the list is substantial for hardships) is just being a kid. I’m not saying anyone is dumb for saying that. I do mean ignorant in the fact of being uneducated in the matter. Auggie has a really high IQ (humble brag and proud Deddy. Don’t @ me.) They’ll test a child’s  IQ during the battery of ADHD testing. Auggie practically taught himself how to read. Then, in school, he’s failing basically everything? No. He’s not completing anything. He writes so fast that it’s illegible. Say whatever you want because you’re free to do so but if a child has ADHD then they need particular guidance. They may not need medication at all but they need guidance geared towards the acronym. I used to hear this a lot but the years have been kind to the way the public views acronyms. Thanks be to God for that!

Q. What is ADHD

A. Maybe I should have started here so you would have an idea of how I view it. An ADHD brain and a brain without it are the same thing but built differently. Both are a machine. One machine is made to run at a really high RPM. The other machine is geared to run at a lower RPM. Both of the machines can perform the same task and run the same race but they’ll be driven differently. Sometimes a person with an acronym needs more guidance in learning the roads ahead.

Q. What is ODD?

A. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Tiny is the culprit here when I’m asked this question. Tiny doesn’t enjoy being told what to do which is like most humans. However, Tiny’s first impulse is to defy whatever is being asked of her. She has more control with adults and almost none with a person who isn’t an adult. She’s a brilliant person. She knows she’s brilliant. She dissects conversations to find any argument against what is being asked or told. She’s taught me the most about being a parent because sometimes… she’s right.

Q. What is OCD?

A. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. All of my children (maybe not Grey but…) have this column checked. Simply put, when they want something or want to do something their brain tells them they will not survive without having it or doing it. That’s REALLY hard to comprehend if you don’t have OCD. It’s not about fixing picture frames (it may be but typically that’s a quirk.) You’ll get the same answer from someone that has it. I’ve watched my children become physically ill from obsessing over something as simple as a small toy. I really dislike this acronym the most this far because it hurts them the most and then, because of it, I have to ask them to be stronger than all of their peers. They are children and children want things and watching them hurt or weep because their brain won’t let it go sucks. Simply put, it sucks.

Q. Why does he keep clearing his throat?

A. A child that has ADHD will develop ticks. At one point Auggie would constantly roll his tongue. Then he began clearing his throat which sounded like he was hocking up a… you get it. It’s something that, in my opinion, gives them a blanket or a re-center of sorts. It’s usually harmless unless it’s some form of picking but that hasn’t been one of Auggie’s or Tiny’s. Not all children get this play thing and according to the doctor it’s completely natural. That’s not to say you shouldn’t tell your child that it’s an issue. We had a teacher tell Auggie in fifth grade that he would be suspended if he kept “hocking.” Even teachers can be ignorant (again, that’s not too say someone is dumb) but after speaking with her she understood even if she didn’t like that it was happening.

I’ll post another Q & ADHD in the future with a deeper set of questions. For my children’s benefit and privacy I don’t want to be too personal especially at their expense. At least now you have a perspective that’s from a parent with first have knowledge. I know I don’t know everything and maybe my way isn’t what’s best for you but do I hope that if you’re struggling with raising a child or children with ADHD then I will say this… You’re going to get stressed and you’ll find a new breaking point after you’ve hit your breaking point but you have a very special, very unique individual in your life. I’ve never met a person with ADHD that I didn’t remember and quite frankly didn’t enjoy being around. I had to accept that my children do not fit into my mold. So, I expanded my mold and my way of thinking and just put one foot in front of the other. Some days are tough while some are great. EVERY DAY is one to remember.

God bless and I hope you have enough.

Just Jared

*I do implore that you research further ESPECIALLY from professionals. Also, Google what a quirk is. You may believe that you have an OCD. Please,  PLEASE don’t wish that on yourself.

**please look past my errors. I’m a writer. Not an editor. I write tragedies and miss apostrophes.

It’s not okay to not be okay and honestly, that’s okay.

Would you guess, I’m a rainbow baby.

Life doesn’t always come at you fast. In fact, it’s when life moves slowly that the parts that need to be fixed are overlooked. If you overlook a leaking tire long enough it’ll go flat or burst or… you get it. This was a weekly blog with the intent to showcase the shenanigans and trials of a family with ADHD. It will remain that way but this entry I want to explain some things about myself. In doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to understand why a certain decision was made or why a certain process is in place with how I raise and teach my children. Here we go…

When I was around nine my mother and I walked into a church’s food bank with the permission to get what we needed and wanted. This was a blessing! There were so many items in there that I had seen but never had until that moment. I didn’t know that wasn’t normal.

My mother and I had a profound relationship of which we were best friends, honestly. She crossed the river when I was twenty-one because of complications stemming all the way back to issues fourteen years prior. She had been sick for three quarters of my life. As a child I didn’t know that wasn’t normal because it was all I knew. Where I had a home with two parents most of my friends lived with one of their divorced parents so my circle included near like minded people in regard to… that didn’t make much sense, huh? My mother was immobile for long and short periods throughout which kept us home often and not always on a family trip or excursion. In fact, most of my friends were treading the poverty line as well. My dad was a tradesman that didn’t always have work and my mother was sick but… I didn’t see my life as being bad and I don’t see my childhood as something bad. Today I love to travel for a day or two but I love being home every night. My fondest memories are at home of conversations or holidays. At home, you focus on each other. On trips, you focus on the trip and what it offers or at least that’s what I do.

Between nine and ten I walked the streets of north Laurel (cleary blessed that I wasn’t abducted although I nearly was once) and went on grand adventures to old train tracks and abandoned factories and hospitals. In fact, I continued adventuring into my early twenties. Not having extra money didn’t stifle my wonder or wanderlust. If anything it ignited it.

I started a full time job at fifteen as a warehouse worker loading trucks and sometimes getting to ride along on deliveries. At the time I was a strapping young lad with a strong back which the boss saw as a stairwell dolly. At one point, I was asked not to come onto the sales floor because of the way I dressed which was a t-shirt and blue jeans. Nothing fancy cause I ain’t. Nothing was tattered or stained and my clothes were washed after use and… I’ve always used deodorant because I was a man at the age of eight (Okay, I just had a big ego.) But this… this was the first moment I looked into the mirror and saw a kid who didn’t have everything. I also understood that a man can thank you for doing a good job with the usual, “only you could’ve done this,” or “we wouldn’t have done this without you,” behind closed doors but when nicely dressed, paying customers are around you’re asked to stay hidden. When I hit sixteen I made that rule permanent and he didn’t have see me again. *Side note, I worked for City Salvage (CHS now) while in college and the owner (similar upbringing) had the same opportunity to hide me as I regularly got dirty from busting my tail but he encouraged that I come onto the sales floor. Different men completely. One viewed work ethic as value. One viewed… I’m not going to talk down because both men taught me something.

Within that same year of my being tucked away as a dirty boy, one of my best friends told me that his mother didn’t want us to be friends anymore (for context, he had a bonfire party go south after water balloons with hot sauce got introduced. I didn’t introduce them but I did go hard on stopping the shenanigans using my… temper and strength?) It was apparent that to show his mother that he was her golden child and not the reason it blew up, myself and our other friend was named for starting it. I’ll admit, him and his family were higher middle class and we cleary were not. No, we were literally the only friends he had until that conversation. I began looking inward and began learning what I saw compared to how the world viewed me. Hint: I’m not a great person and hate it when someone finds out.

College will change how the world views me…

My first semester of college was one semester before my high school graduating class. After an injury and poor decisions I was sidelined from football which made public school the worst and home school the way to go That decision helped me finish high school early. My goal? Oh, to be rewarded with a PhD in philosophy and religion, of course. Who wouldn’t?

Okay… I’m going to say this because I’ve been urged to explain why I didn’t finish after getting close to a bachelor’s degree because I tell people now, in person, it was the money and that’s partially true while in fact, my mother took a turn for the worse and I dropped out to care for her. I didn’t go back and I promised her I would finish so when someone would ask (when I was younger) why I didn’t finish I could be honest or be quick adout it. She wept when it told her. She blamed herself that I wasn’t going to finish school. You won’t hear me say that. I can barely type that. I’ve learned since that a philosopher doesn’t need a doctorate to exist but merely a mind for logic and enough stubbornness to question the answers.

Now, now…

It’s been well over a year that I get every other weekend with my children though I’m blessed to see them everyday. I don’t want to linger on a failed marriage because… still hurts, ya know? What I learned and am learning is much more about myself. It’s a dumb feeling when something occurs or a thought comes to light and I know it could have made a difference. Every relationship, especially a marriage, requires compromise, communication, understanding and love. You know those hind sight moments where you could kick yourself? If you don’t like kicking yourself after a failed relationship then don’t look at it as an outsider. I will not… I’m not going to point a finger at her but I live with me and, as when I was younger, really looked inward. This time, I hated what I saw. I was embarrassed with myself. You want to know what I saw? Hint: I’m not great person but I know now what’s stopping me from at least being good.

I’ve not changed so to speak but… okay, I’m sure I’ve changed. My goal is to be the best dad I can be especially now and now when you read adout how I discipline or how I talk with and work through issues with my children you have an idea as to why…

These are my truths:

My life before today only molded me. It does not define me.

Nothing in life is fair nor should it be.

Assume I could have done more.

Look inward before acting outward.

This world owes me nothing.

Love is a commodity.

Moments matter more than time.

God is the only reason I’m here. I assume and I know I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows I’m a Christian. In fact, I first prayed, really prayed to God at nine. I surrendered at eleven and can’t honestly say there was a moment where I didn’t believe there is a God. My belief in Jesus was solidified later in life but belief in God was… just is. My goal is to be a good person and a great Deddy. I’m honest with myself and I know I’m not a great person but I will keep trying and anyway I can help I will.

You want to know what I saw? I saw a person who wasn’t giving enough where it mattered. I’m more focused now. I pray daily that I stay focused and if you enjoyed reading this I don’t mind a prayer being sent my way for just that.

God bless and I hope you have enough.

Auggie’s Deddy

*I hope to give you an entry a week. If you have a child with an acronym and want advice or have advice then let’s start a conversation.

**I haven’t written long form in a while. Please forgive my grammar.

Huggy, don’t cry.

“Dad!” Matthew yelled, “Maleigh just poured the clear glue into a bowl!” He was plopping himself into the truck as he griped.

Maleigh studies each step off of the porch as she descends while holding back tears. She’d already been scolded by big brother and little momma Tiny. She gets into the truck with a big brother (who is fuming at this point), sits down quietly in her car seat, puts her head in her hands and begins to cry in a way that isn’t her usual (she can win awards, my friend.)

“Huggy, that was his and you knew that.”

Her cry became more painful as she said, “I wanted to make him something special, Da-dee.”

Matthew and I immediately looked at each other, deflated. We felt her words in our heart. This little girl… Jesus. Our Huggy. What I saw was a little girl who fights for her place at the table and who always wants approval from Auggie and Tiny with her projects or feats. She wanted to make a “symbiote” slime (In the Spiderman universe there’s an alien that looks like black slime that gives you powers which Auggie digs it big time) and give her to her big brother.

A couple of mintues later I looked at Auggie and said, “I believe her, bubba.”

His face became soft and he said, “I do too Da-da.”

-I wanted to explain that we often jump to conclusions but I feel like it was understood in that moment.

Huggy was the baby before the baby. It’s easy for her to feel left out or looked over and probably why she loves hugs because that moment, a hug, is her’s alone.

This past year has been an amazing challenge. I’ve gotten closer to God and become a better Da-da (spoken like a drum beat), Daaaad (long form) and Da-Dee (It’s in Huggy speak and I can’t explain it but it flips my “yes, baby, I will move that mountain” switch when she says that which is typically after I err on the side of caution and she says, “it’s okay Da-dee, I can do it.” We’ve all gotten closer and I went into dark places at times but God has and is seeing me through, seeing us through. My joy is being Auggie’s, Tiny’s, Huggy’s and Bubby’s Deddy. My only drive is for them and then my family.

I try to see them everyday and it’s a blessing to me that I can. Most relationships don’t operate that way due to… whatever made them fail. We have fun on our days and I bring snacks on off days. It’s not what I envisioned but it’s my life right now. For a moment, it was Auggie that needed me most. Then Tiny. Now Huggy. I can only assume that it will change hands multiple times as life moves forward. Just yesterday, Huggy squeezed my neck with all her little might and cried to go with me. That’s a bittersweet pill to swallow. As with Auggie before, I have to explain carefully what and why. Huggy is almost six years old and she feels as if she has to work harder for attention or acknowledgement and she can NEVER be made to feel that way by her Deddy, her Da-Dee, or I am failing. I sometimes plan our next day in those moments trying to give them something to look forward too. Glow-in-the-dark slime it is!

Earlier that day, as soon as I parked the truck and turned off the engine she was opening the door with a smile that was bigger than she was.

“I cried today, Da-Dee,” she spoke through her smile.

“Aww, Huggy, don’t cry. Why’d you cry, baby?”

“I watched a sad video where her Daddy died. She went to college too. Please, please, please, watch it with me.”

Auggie was with us at this point.

“Darling, I don’t like sad videos. What if I start crying? We’d have a mess on our hands.” This got a good laugh out of both of them but I do make silly faces too. Cheap laughs. Still get laughs though.

With much coercing, we watched the video. She’d been watching it all day and even her Mamaw knew most of the words. Sure enough, it’s a popular song that has spoken word added to it. The little girl loses her Dad when she’s five and she visits his grave with every milestone she passes.

It was awful. I don’t like sad videos. She sat on my lap and the whole four minute song played through. What Huggy doesn’t know is my own past with my Mother… it hit way too close to home but it showed me something about my Huggy baby’s heart… she truly loves and she truly loves me. I knew she did, of course. She’s afraid she’s going to lose me somehow, someway, and then the guy that fights beside her would be gone. I tried explaining a few things about our situation and about life in general. She knows, they all know, that even when I’m gone, I won’t truly be gone. That was the last lesson my mother taught me.

It’s a fortunate thing that I have Facebook and WordPress to leave with them because it’s a no-brainer that anyone would want a loved ones words to return too.

“Don’t cry, Huggy.”

*I actually encourage crying in different situations in the case that it seems I’m against crying. That would be akin to being against sneezing. Sometimes, you just need sneeze, err… cry.

I’m rusty in the actual writing department so please forgive my first attempt back. As I wrote… Jesus… it’s been a year long year. Yep. You read that right. Hoping to get back to one a week on the rigors and joy of being the Deddy to my children. It’s truly the best part of my life and I praise God for it. Let’s rock.

OCD is a beach

Auggie will Auggie

A day off from work you say? Let’s see the end of the world then! This will be fun and not at all frustrating. Let’s rock!

Nearly every rule I put in place for our trip (all four children) was broken by Auggie and Huggy (Huggy is my youngest daughter.) However, the trip went as well as I’d hoped. I consider myself to be a positive person and find that life feels better with some hope sprinkled in. The first issue was Auggie leaving the surrounding area while I was getting the stroller out and diaper bag ready. He decided then that Huggy should be arm in arm with him. Tiny was my point person staying nearly center to both them and myself and baby. That action caused me to take way more time getting things out because of the whiplash action of constantly looking towards the rascals that were not in the group and back at what I’m doing. After corralling everyone up we made our way towards the pier. The look in Auggie’s eyes was nearly wild. The water, the beach and the people were causing some overload for Auggie. He wanted… no… he NEEDED to touch everything, talk to everyone and hang over the pier every chance there was.

The second major rule was grabbing fishing poles at the end of the pier. This rule came to be the moment I noticed fishing poles. I know Auggie and now, his eyes were wild and he had given all self control over to his obsessive thoughts. So he grabbed a fishing pole. Thankfully, no one seemed bothered. Then, after being told to stop (and stopping) he rushed to the other side and grabbed a net. A woman (who owned the net) told him he could hold it but that it wouldn’t reach the water. He decided to test that theory and nearly did before I was there—

*I need to go ahead and let everyone know that’s reading this that pushing a large stroller after an eleven year old super human through a crowd on a pier that’s less than ten feet wide is an adventure in itself and not one I suggest if you’re the only shepherd.

— Once I gathered all the babies into a seating area, we had another conversation which detailed again the dangers of separation and falling into the water. Auggie was immediately tortured by not being able to fish because, according to him, I said we’d go fishing as soon as spring came. His mind was in full obsession mode at this point.

Pinched

A person with OCD has, at times, a moment by moment struggle. That which NEEDS to happen MUST happen OR… The emotions range from anger, frustration and even extreme sadness. In their mind, for the world to continue, this obsession must be fed and not feeding it becomes a form of torture. Auggie, when he’s made to stop an action, will wince in real pain as if he’s being pinched. You could say, “that’s not normal,” and you’d be correct. That’s why it’s labeled as a disorder. When he’s locked into something as simple as finding a matching sock it can make him physically sick if he doesn’t find it. The longer the search the more intense the need to find it—

*This is why I get frustrated when people confuse quirks for an OCD. I won’t go down that path today. Just know, it bothers me.

— On the other hand, if Auggie is made to stop then there is an intense struggle to change course. I will (I’m not sure any way is right but this is what I do) hold him close and tell him he’s obsessing. Then, I will bring new thoughts in. Drawing, writing, school, friends etc. There’s no perfect solution but this technique has had success before. Sometimes… the urge is just too strong though.

Auggie and Huggy

We all went down to the water before leaving. I was carrying Grey at this point so he could see the water too. Auggie, Huggy and Tiny beat us there by a mile. The one rule? Do not get into the water. Why? They were all coughing. I’m not a scientist or a medical professional. Can that make them sick or sicker? I don’t know that but I do know it can’t hurt. What did I find when I got to them? Yep. All three had there shoes off. Tiny (the defacto leader) was only there to make sure they were safe and not going any further according to her. Smart little lady (this future lawyer always has a logical explanation. Scares me at times.) Auggie took the blame for coercing Huggy and at that point it was time to leave. Auggie believed it was because he broke the rules and in part it was but that was the smallest part. The main reasons were this…

I was alone and didn’t think far enough ahead as to how difficult it would be to keep eyes on all of them in such a vast space.

It’s a two hour drive.

I was by myself.

Should be smarter

Did I mention that I was the only adult? I know, cheap laughs are just that. I’m not saying that I went as the only adult for any recognition. I genuinely fell in over my head with each new danger. I do not suggest doing that without help BUT… man… I want them to see the world. I pray a lot. I pray for their protection and peace. I’m thankful they had a great time and I’ll do it again. Now I know exactly what to expect from them. They all enjoyed themselves though so it was a success.

“They had a great time? Enjoyed themselves? But you said Auggie thought ya’ll were leaving because of him.”

Okay, so… another aspect of OCD that you must know and this will help you tremendously is if Auggie is told to stop doing something that is triggered by his OCD and is punished for continuing that’s not super bothersome for him as long as he completed what he needed/wanted to. In other words, discipline hurts less than not fulfilling his obsession. My brother was the same way. My dad was the same way. My mother was that way as well. I didn’t allow him to believe he was the reason either. I am not a monster! Maybe a little. Auggie has the tendency to be negative so he’ll blame himself quickly (Maybe that’s another aspect of acronyms but I’m not medical person.) Huggy blamed him too I suppose. That sweet little five year old lady said, “this was supposed to be the most beautiful day!” She’s a character. That really brought laughs around as we were leaving.

So, I should be smarter. I need to plan better. Either way, they get only one childhood and going on adventures is a must. When my body gives out… hopefully Auggie will be old enough to drive and he can continue the tradition of poorly planning and not being completely prepared. Oh, the memories.

Thank you for reading and if you’re rearing children with acronyms (and no prior family experience) then I hope this finds you and helps you.

God bless and I hope you have enough.

Just Jared

*The picture posted isn’t a sad Auggie. He wanted to know how far down the water was. I wonder why? I don’t. I know why. Thank you again!

Bonnie Raitt said what?

Last Sunday’s late night conversation with Tiny will be another one that sticks with me forever. She was fairly reserved for about an hour before we parted and just all around not saying too much. When I was almost at the vehicle to leave she bolted outside for one more hug (common theme now that I do not discourage.) This hug was different.

Tiny has always had issues with being too close to someone physically. She gives one arm hugs or will literally turn to the side when getting a hug. She can’t tolerate someone’s face being close to her face and will literally start believing that she can’t breath. Yelling out that you can’t breath is a quick way to get your personal space back (free advice, no charge.) She’s not one to be held down or grappled and will become a furious fighting force if that occurs. But… this hug was different and I immediately knew it. Another point of reference concerning Tiny is that she HATES crying. She’s tough and has always been tough. I’ve encouraged her to cry numerous times and attempt to hold her in a way where her face is hidden. Otherwise, she’s gonna bottle those emotions and get vintage dates stamped on.

She grabbed me with both arms and squeezed me tightly. A few seconds passed and she was still hugging me. No brainer… I asked, “what’s going on, baby?”

She released her death grip and looked at me, “do we have to talk about it?”

“Talk about what, darling?”

Her eyes began to water and she began studying the ground, “divorce. I cry when I talk about it.”

“Well… I might too. We don’t have to talk about it but you can ask me anything. You can always talk to me. ”

She began to cry and spoke through her sobs, “I don’t know who to live with,” she said quickly as if time was an issue before wrapping me in another hug.

“Tiny girl… you’ll spend half your time with me and half with your mother. You don’t have to choose anybody. Were you afraid of having to hurt mine or your mother’s feelings?”

She wept for a few moments before shaking her head yes.

“Baby, me nor your mother could stand being away from you for too long so we have this system for everybody to have equal time. Why did you think you’d have to choose?”

“My friend at school said she’s picking her daddy because he’s nice. I thought about (her personal thoughts on me) and (her personal thoughts on her mother) so I don’t know what to do and I’m scared.”

“You don’t have to choose, darling. You’ll stay with both of us at different times but never too long away from the other. Aren’t you glad you talked about it now?”

She nodded her head, set her tough meter to full and smiled at me. “I love you Da-da. I’m going back in. I love you goodnight.”

I was able to say the same before she ran though the door. I’ve learned a lot from my children. Tiny is a wise little lady that thinks deeply but she doesn’t know everything. I often forget that. We have discussed the divorce multiple times but aspects, such as that she brought up, totally eluded me. I assumed Tiny knew the system in place was the system. If I can be any assistance to parents out there in a similar situation (children with acronyms going through a divorce ((friendly)) it’s that talking about it must happen. Whatever IT is, it needs to be aired out.

This was a short entry, I know. There are things going on in my life that require more attention than my blogs. One of those things pertains to writing which I’ll discuss more in depth later. I am planning on getting back to a weekly pace AND if you have any questions for me about being Auggie’s Deddy feel free to ask. Thank you for reading. Take care and I hope you have enough.

God bless,

Just Jared

Are you down with ODD?

Tiny at open house, 3rd grade.

What is ODD? Well… I’ll start with this…

A civilised society has laws, rules and an unwritten set of moral guidelines. These laws and rules are decreed because we are humans and are allowed by God to have free will. This is MY belief.

In other words… we (law abiding citizens of Earth) sometimes buck the system or bend the rules to suit our needs or wants. I believe that most adults understand the reasons for a state of law. The alternative is anarchy (a society without laws or rules) which, quite possibly, is the first form of government most children want. Yep. If you have children then you may be nodding in agreement at this moment.

For instance, if you have two children the exact same age, size and intelligence sitting across from each other and then set down one sparkly, noisy, little toy in between them it will become a race to own the toy and then NOT share the toy and assert dominance over the other child in a show of force that this world has never seen before! Okay, not quite that fierce and not all children are this way. I’m not going to say one way is better because all things have a place. We’ve come this far as human beings by having the, well… the human nature that we have.

Child Rearing

A nation has laws. A home has a parent or guardian (law bringer sounds good too) to instruct the rules and enforce the rules. Some children will share without being taught. Most children will share after being taught. I’m not going to delve too deep into child rearing here but it is important to note that having a child with ODD can make this process even more difficult or a better word may be, different. I wrote that MOST children will share when taught that they need to because… (insert list of everything that’s good about good things for yourself and others summed up in parenthesis here. Trying to keep it short and not a blog on why sharing is a good thing.) A child with ODD may have a more difficult issue with this on a natural level.

Rules suck

Tiny doesn’t like rules but only when they apply to her. She’s not mean (most times) and she enjoys helping people especially with her baby brother. She’s usually organized, tries to take care of her things and enforces any rules in place to her siblings or peers. But then… those those pesky rules creep in where she has to follow them. She doesn’t like rules if they get in the way of her wants. She’s amazingly clever too, so a simple “no” is never enough (No is always enough because she’s a child and should follow the rules. Keep reading and I’ll explain.) If you tell her no about having a cookie then she will become a world renowned defense attorney and plead her case. She keeps evidence and witnesses too. What I’ve learned is that ODD is about “fairness” (or “freedom”) or what the child views as fair. Adults understand well that life shouldn’t be seen as something that is fair or unfair. It’s not healthy to do so. That’s a fairly difficult conversation for an eight year old when her older brother Auggie (a few years older) gets to do something and she can’t. The other issue is that she didn’t want to follow the rule to begin with but has, thank God, really worked on recognizing when she’s being defiant. That doesn’t mean she immediately begins following the rules.

Free Spirit or Law Breaker?

A few rules she really dislikes and fights to not follow are: Bedtime, brushing teeth, finishing her food, where to sit, what to wear, what to watch, sharing, chores and going to school. Oddly enough, she usually does her homework. She fights these rules and presents every reason why she shouldn’t follow them and then presents every excuse when she’s caught breaking them. Yes, she does this on purpose. She has ODD. It is her nature to be defiant. As I wrote earlier, I’m thankful she’s beginning to recognize that bucking every rule isn’t healthy.

Reaction and Moving Forward

The only thing I have figured out is what happened yesterday. I may be wrong but I attempt to be fluid in my decisions. There are moments where no is just that. Then there are moments where I change my mind or she changes my mind. We attempt to have a conversation about it and why the answer changed or did not. Most times she accepts the answer and when she doesn’t it’s noticed by those around her.

*I’m never going to be to personal on here and at some point, when they’re teenagers or young adults I don’t want to have embarrassed them unjustly.

One thing that Tiny enjoys above everything else (seemingly) is making and playing with slime. She’s very knowledgeable about the different types and how to make them stretchy or wet or good for bubbles and so on. This is her therapy. It’s her moment of meditation so I essentially put no limits on it. Is that right? Maybe. What I’m certain of is that even though a child is five, three, nine or whichever age you choose, they are still human. It so often gets overlooked that children have anxiety, depression, wants, fears or desires. They have few options of “mental escape” because, unlike adults, they can’t get into a car and drive away or eat a whole quart of icecream or say NO wherever they choose or quit school at any time or…

ODD makes their brain question anything that isn’t what they deem free. It could be viewed as anarchy or chaotic when truly, it’s freedom they desire. As a parent, it is sometimes difficult to explain why some rules or laws exist especially if your child is naturally defiant to them.

What has been helping

For a few weeks now, with Tiny and Auggie, I’ve been speaking to them about how it feels when they’re obsessed or angry or overly sad about something. I ask them what they’re feeling and does it feel good or happy. Then, I explain that they don’t have to linger in that state and can move on to something else. Now, when they get into they’re emotions and feelings it’s for shorter times. No one wants to feel that yucky weight on them especially if a couple of actions can change it. This has been helping. It’s not perfect or one hundred percent effective but it has helped.

Thank you for reading. I’m trying to get back to a weekly schedule if my mind permits. God bless and I hope you have enough.

Just Jared

Raising Girls vs. Boys (Title fight for the ADHD belt)

A hurricane and a tornado

In the photo above is a pair of kids who adore each other and despise each other. Both Auggie and Tiny are brilliant children and because of having ADHD they’ve both gone through the rigors of being tested for ADHD and as such cannot use any excuse concerning intellect. I don’t know? Nah. (That’s for another time.)

As usual, I’m only able to write from my perspective. I’m not sure I can offer “good” advice but I can explain what seems to be working for me and them and give a peak into the lives of a household with ADHD.

Meet the contenders

Auggie lives with ADHD and OCD. One can drive the other to newer and newer heights but he’s a smart kid and works really hard (most times) to recognize when he’s obsessing over something (previous entries discuss the OCD). Tiny also lives with ADHD but her main “struggle” is ODD (Oppositional defiance disorder). I haven’t written about that one as much but I do plan to because it’s a potent disorder. She is naturally defiant. Obviously, that can cause some major issues in her school life and home life.

How they coexist:

Auggie never seemed bothered by not being the “baby” after Tiny was born. In fact, he did everything he could to make her laugh. He misses her when she’s not with him and sometimes when they agree to be civil they have more giggles than the legal limit. The beautiful moments. Then, there’s the thunderstorm warning moments. Because both of them have similar issues they can feed each other into negative moments. Auggie becomes more physically aggressive while Tiny uses uses her clever mind and sharp tongue to elicit a response. It was a wonder of mine if it was the difference between the sexes until… Huggy. Huggy (youngest daughter) is very similar to Auggie in her mannerisms BUT after she was born she decided that taking anything other than giggles serious was not going to happen without a fight. And she will fight. She also prefers to use physical force to convey her aggravations. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not “destructive” or violent. Some of the things they do and the way they act reminds me of the stories my mother would tell me about my older brother and sister. At the end of the day, their children and will, at times, REALLY act like it.

How we coexist:

I’ll admit that I was softer on my oldest daughter in her toddler days. She made leaps and bounds in the maturity department and would not be outdone by her older brother. Each child has similar and different interest and I attempt to provide the things that bring them joy. It truly is a “learn as you go” with Auggie, Tiny and Huggy because they’re wired in a unique manner. Most days are good but there are trigger moments where understanding that their motor is driving them and not their heart takes longer than it should on both sides.

To be continued

For now, the belt is still up for grabs. I assume that when they get into their teenage years it will be easier to decide which group was harder to raise. So far, both the boys and girls are tied for giving their Deddy a LOT of gray hair on the ol’ goatee.

Next week

A good topic, I think, is what to expect of a child with the gift of acronyms when life isn’t going exactly as they planned. A warning ahead of time… hang on and hold fast.

God bless,

Just Jared

ADHDitude

There’s a few things to completely understand when you have a child with ADHD or OCD or ODD. I’m suggesting that you study what these issues will cause in your child, how it affects their environment, how it affects their relationships and how it affects you.

I’m going to write about my experiences with OCD in this entry because it tends to be the issue that most people have a problem with concerning Auggie. Short of the long, when he decides that he wants something or wants to do something it’s nearly an unmanageable situation to control especially if the child is still very young.

In the past few months I’ve been trying to convince Auggie to think before he acts. If he would just give a moment to the consequences or repercussions and then make a decision he would discover that the people around him or those affected would be much nicer and much more giving. Now, every time I see him or hear of him acting in a way that he shouldn’t we talk about what he should have done. I believe this has been a big help but it doesn’t completely correct the issue.

This is why

How many times in your adult life or even today have you said or done something that you immediately regretted? Foot in mouth style. How many rash decisions are made by adults that have no inkling of ADHD? I have certainly had those moments. Not today. The day is still young, though. Maybe you can imagine then that for a child without ADHD it is multiplied. The need/want of things or expression or action is heightened in a child because learning patience requires… well… to learn and learning requires time. If the child has ADHD then it is multiplied much further. You then have a child that has a need/want that couples with obsession and creates a struggle that is quite formidable for a child that hasn’t quite learned patience.

I find myself asking my son that lives every moment with ADHD, OCD and ODD to think before he acts and then find myself, as an adult who has patiently sat in waiting rooms for hours on end or waited to speak to an operator for longer than I’ll admit ask of my son something that I too have struggled with. Foot in mouth. Then I see him gaining ground and working so hard to go against something in his mind that feels completely normal. I’m asking a person that’s nearly deaf to hear normally. I’m asking a person that’s nearly blind to see completely. I wouldn’t ask that, obviously, but I’m asking my son to do something that requires so much strength and patience for a person in his situation.

Why I ask

Most of the world sees a person with ADHD as a person without self- control who is self serving. They often times blame the person for any issues that come from it. I’ve seen his teachers notes and had numerous meetings. I’ve been given verbal reports of how he acts at times from family and friends. I understand your feelings, I do. That’s why I’m writing “Auggie with ADHD.”

I ask Auggie to push further than any “normal” child because he doesn’t see how frustrated people become with him and when he does realize that he has upset someone he feels as if the world is falling down around him. He blames himself and puts himself down. Obviously, he understands when he’s done something wrong and asking him repeatedly to think is frustrating but it’s not being repeated everyday like it was. It breaks my heart when someone is mad with him or frustrated by him. He has some issues. He’s working to get through them and he’s doing great. I pray he stays on this path.

OCD

I’m not sure I can give justice to this explanation because I’m not typically driven by an obsession. Why does Auggie with ADHD act out at times? He becomes obsessed with something. Most people understand OCD has having to level a photo or straighten papers. It is BUT is not. If you feel the need to level a picture but couldn’t, what would you do? Would you scream about it? Would you try to physically push your way past any obstacles to get to it? Would you make excuses for why it means so much to you to level that picture? Would you be able to sleep tonight knowing that picture isn’t level? Would you wake up thinking about it? If the answer is no then you have what is called a quirk. That’s not an obsession. Auggie could answer yes to every question but not for pictures, no.

OCD isn’t just wanting a picture to be level or clothes lined up in the closet which is how it’s usually portrayed in film. OCD is a chained thought that enslaves you. Let’s pretend Auggie wants to ride his bicycle and he’s told no. If this thought has chained him then he’s going to do and say everything in his power to ride that bicycle. He may sneak out. He may lie. He may sulk. He’ll keep asking. His mind is SCREAMING AT HIM to ride that bicycle while he’s pleading with you over it. Then it becomes desperation so he sneaks out, straps on his helmet and feels the freedom of the wind against his face and for a moment he’s not obsessed. When realizes he’s in deep trouble there’s almost a calmness to him. He gave in to the obsession and now it’s over.

*That may or may not have happened a few times in his life already.

I keep asking him to think. As I said, I’m asking him to do something that I sometimes fail at, all without having my mind scream at me and consume my thoughts over it. He’s better than me. He’s learning. He’s finding patience.

Not Softly Into The Night

With Auggie, I never blame his actions on the issues. He knows he has ADHD. I know it. Those who know him know it. There’s no reason for me to keep it in the conversation when something has occurred. I remind him that he has the power to control it and that he should work on that daily which he has been and it’s going to be a process. I explain to new teachers and new people (if needed) that he has a few super powers but never explain that as an excuse. He’s Auggie and he’s going to Auggie regardless so when he’s stepping out of line it falls on him, not the super powers. The heartbreaking part is knowing that for him to fit into societal norms (to keep from bringing Hurricane Auggie onto shore) he has to work much harder than most. He’ll never go quietly and I’ll never ask that much of him.

God bless,

Auggie’s Deddy

I have to be your friend

Not a little kid anymore

Auggie said, “I have to be your friend, Deddy.” The night he said that to me will, just as his words, stay with me until I’ve gone on. The evening leading up to those words was a tough one. Typically, the hurricane days are when his medicine hasn’t been filled.

*Keep in mind that prescriptions are for thirty days and the months that have thirty-one days will have at least one hurricane warning.

On those rare occasions where Auggie is, well… Hurricane Auggie, he becomes something else. He laughs loudly, he cries quickly and he moves at lightning fast speeds. Please know, before I continue, that I am not nor will I ever complain about his “powers.” He is my best friend and without him I’d be expired, moldy bread ready to be discarded. Auggie will start a running tab on disciplines when he’s at cat five. It’s a constant flow of calling his name, issuing and following through on threats (from both sides) and leaving a trail of things undone, not put up and strewn about or even destroyed. Typical ADHD behavior. The difficult part of rearing a child like Auggie is being consistent. It’s easy to give in… it’s easier to give in after weathering the storm all day. Stay strong. If it’s no the first time it has to stay that way even when the crocodile tears become pure tears.

Towards the end of the night Auggie said something fairly hateful to his mother. This is the line of completely unacceptable (even now with life changes). Normally, really bad behavior calls for tougher discipline but this time I couldn’t. He knew when the words left his mouth that the whole situation had changed. He stared at me intently with his big hazel eyes full of frustration and fear. I walked over to him and leaned down to his ear to whisper, “son, that’s my wife and your mother you’re talking down to. No one is allowed to do that. I don’t even do that. I’m not sure we can be friends if that continues. Do you understand?” He nodded slowly as tears filled his eyes. I was too angry for any type of discipline and hoped this would reach him. He apologized to his mother and remained fairly quiet until bed.

A child’s belief

It was getting late when Auggie crawled onto the bed with me. I was nodding off but came to attention when the bed jolted softly. He was being quiet and gentle in his movements and I knew he’d be asleep soon. Auggie was always fast to sleep IF (big IF) he closed his eyes and gave it just a few moments. He laid on his stomach and put his arm over my chest. He asked softly if I was awake to which I said, “I am, son.”

Then, he said something that took the wind from me. My ten year old son, still a child, spoke words that shook me.

“I have to be your friend, dada. I have to be. (At this point his voice became a whisper as he began falling asleep.) If you’re not my friend I may hurt myself or somebody. Please be my friend.”

Jesus… my eyes filled with tears. I pulled him close to me and told him, “we will always be best friends. We have to treat each other that way too. Okay.”

He was already asleep. I couldn’t sleep for a while as that laid on my heart but it made sense with thought. At least, it made sense to me. A child with ADHD can feel like they are walking this path alone by constantly hearing about their wrongdoings and misdeeds. He felt like the world was against him BUT he had his Deddy. He felt like everyone was against him but I was for him. He felt like he was unwanted but I wanted him. Then, I explained to him that even our friendship could expire and he felt completely alone or, at least, considered being alone in the world.

The next day

Auggie ended up staying in the big bed overnight. I was getting things together to go to work and trying to be quiet for everyone who was sleeping. Just before I left I heard his feet hit the floor. I knew that sound like the back of my hand (throwback idiom?) It was a long standing joke that Auggie never learned to walk, only to run and he came running into the living room and smiled when he saw me. He hugged me as tight as he could and told me I was his best friend. I squeezed him until he made funny fart noises with his mouth.

“We’ll always be best friends son.”

He gave a sly grin, “I know Deddy. I heard you last night.”

What it means to me

A child (adults as well but an adult should have more control) with ADHD has large emotions. They have large thoughts. They have a large imagination. Everything in their sphere is larger and the world is always so new and shiny. When that melds with Auggie’s intelligence and his logic there can sometimes be disasters. He needs consistent discipline. If it’s no the first time it must be a no the final time but… He’s learning control but that process is slow. Thankfully, God gave me patience.

*I may differ from other parents here

I’ve learned with Auggie that restricting him can send his hurricane status from a cat one to a five. His mind needs a release, an outlet. He is programmed to follow his first thought to completion and when he can’t it becomes an even more obsessive thought. He needs to follow through for any satisfaction. With that said, I give him untold rewards. He gets to play his Nintendo at certain times and ride his bike at certain times but each activity has a time limit even if he’s in “trouble” (being in trouble or under punishment works so much differently with ADHD because of how unattached or unmoved a child can be when something is removed like a game or toy. You have to be creative when applying punishment). Unless I cannot watch him or know he’s safe then he has more freedom than in his previous years and you know what occurred? He’s calmer now. He listens… he listens.

Is that a perfect system? No. However, it works for Auggie. It works for me and for his siblings and we stay friends. Of course, I’ll always be his friend. For years he was raised as if he was a child without ADHD. The past few months I’ve applied to raise him knowing he has ADHD and OCD. He’s an incredible person and vastly unique. He’s better than I ever dreamed when hoping to one day be a father.

Next week: ADHDTUDE Err… ATTITUDE

Thank you for reading.

God bless.

Jared

*Please know, if you read any of these blogs and feel that I am glorifying disorders then I’m writing and presenting them the wrong way. I glorify my God and my children. My goal is to present my life rearing children with ADHD, OCD and ODD and hope it helps someone or maybe get advice that helps. I’ll introduce “Tiny” in the coming blogs and talk about ODD with it.

A new road for Auggie

My brother’s advice

We left the doctors office (read previous entries for details) with a lot on my mind. All of my life there were people close to me with ADHD and each dealt with it differently. Auggie reminded me so much of my brother (I call him Bubba too) and that was a wonderful thing to me. My mother was thirty-nine when I was born so my siblings were, at the very least, ten years older than me and I adored and admired all of them so much. I prayed for more time with them when I was younger and God blessed me with Auggie, my “little bubba.” Seeing the similarities between them it was a no-brainer to ask my brother what I should do. There are obviously things to consider before administering such heavy medications. My mother tried medication with my brother but at the time he was prescribed, ADHD wasn’t nearly as understood as it is today. He was prescribed a heavier dose of ritalin than a child needed and it took away his entire personality which was a no-go for my mother. Frankly, it was unsafe forty years ago without the knowledge we have today about how much a child should take and thankfully, different types of medicines are also available. After I explained to Bubba what the doctor and psychologist told us he wasted no time in giving an answer. This isn’t verbatim but is very close to his actual words.

“Oh yes, absolutely. When I was kid I didn’t have many friends, if any. They had energy but I had a super power in going non-stop. As an adult I have no issues with that because I’m energetic and always ready. Try the medicine. It’s different now.”

He wasn’t lying about making friends. You’d have to force yourself to not like him and he will run circles around his peers even nearing fifty years of age.

Here we go

So… that’s what we decided on. They started Auggie on a mixture of medicines after more discussions with the doctor. My fears were laid to rest shortly after as well. When I came home from work he was still my Auggie. Working seven days a week I never knew exactly how the medicine calmed him down but his teachers were pleased, his mother and extended family. I’ve been adamant to him that he doesn’t have a problem and that his ADHD is almost a super power. It’s hard for others to keep up with a hurricane.

The first time I noticed him reading, without interruption, tears came to my eyes. Since he could draw, color and read there’s always been an internal struggle in him. He wanted to finish his little projects ADHD his little books but before he even knew it there was something else more important. ADHD isn’t, “look, a butterfly!” ADHD is the thought of never feeling accomplished or complete, never finished, never ready and always ready.

He’s been doing well in school, thank God. The medicine, in his case, has been very good fit his education and when I’m with him in the evenings he’s still my Auggie. Hurricane August.

Next week (I started this entry a month and half ago… life happens. I’m back for now.)

Auggie’s life and my life have had a drastic change over the past couple of months. His mother has decided that she wants a divorce. I’m not going to detail anything in this blog that doesn’t pertain to him and my relationship with him so I’ll not make it about that. I wanted this blog to be a start to present day but I’m going to add in moments past and present that may be helpful to parents with children dealing with ADHD and similar situations to myself. I won’t number them anymore but I do promise to be clever in the title. I’ll try to be clever I’m usually not.

God bless

Jared

P.s. I didn’t proof read much at all. For my sanity I need to get this on here to go over the hump. I need to write more now, more than ever.

Auggie breaks my heart (working title) in the next entry.