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