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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Busy busy...

We've had a busy day. Aidan took his first dose of ADHD meds this morning, and no terrible side effects so far. He did say he had a headache, and explained it's because he has to keep scrunching up his forehead (His current tic) ADHD meds can exacerbate Tourette's symptoms. Then you have to decide whether your child is suffering more from tics or more from ADHD, and modify the meds accordingly. What a choice to make: do I want to make my kid to have millions of tics that may cause him to be ridiculed by peers, cause pain, cause him frustration...or do I want him to suffer from debilitating ADHD and have trouble concentrating, trouble completing all daily tasks, trouble in school...what a choice. Sometimes I wonder why sweet innocent little kids have to deal with these impossible situations.

 After Ella's physical therapy this morning, we put our soil into our new veggie garden in the back yard. Then I planted our little sprouts with Ella's "help". We took a break to take Aidan to gymnastics, then went back home and finished our garden. We'll see how it turns out, the sprouts are looking a little weary. 

Ben and Jonah got home from good days at school. Now they're taking turns doing one of their favorite activities: making their own recipes. I give them the supplies and they mix up their own creation. They wear their chef hats and aprons, and mix, smell, combine, sprinkle, create, and explore. I'm hoping to make a chef out of at least one of them so they'll make me delicious concoctions in my old age. They love this activity. Aidan pleaded to do this today, so I agreed. We only do this recipe game when the floors are really dirty to begin with, because most of the "recipe" ends up on the floor. And the chairs, counters, sink, clothes, hair...but it's fun to listen to the kids chatting as they come up with their own creations. 

Everyone is so calm and happy today. I remember when we had quite the opposite feeling in the house by the time the big boys would come home. Even earlier this year, we could expect tantrums and meltdowns as the boys walked in the house from the bus. They were not able to transition smoothly from the structure and environment of school to home life. We worked with their counselor to figure out what to do. The counselor came to our home a few times and we worked with the boys on the transition issue. They've always struggled with any kind of transition, so life has never flowed smoothly for Ben and Jonah. 

Since we've gotten just the right combo of meds over the past couple months, the boys' behavior and ability to deal with life has gotten so much better. It's truly a miracle. Now they are, most of the time, the amazing boys that we used to only catch glimpses of in between rages. I had hope every day that this time would come for us, when we could live a little bit of a calmer life, and here it is. Sometimes I feel guilty for having such an easy life right now- now we just have more normal family problems like normal siblings have. The boys' counselor always has such wise words for my Neurotic Mommy Moments, and she told me a parent should never feel guilty for enjoying her children. How true is that!?! So after many years of such desperation and fatigue and dark moments with the boys, I am grasping each happy moment and squeezing all the joy I can from it. I sort of feel like I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because after you live in the war zone of having children with rages nonstop for days, months, years, to have that come to a halt makes you always look over your shoulder in expectation of the next rage that never comes. You are always on guard, on alert, for the next sign that a rage is coming. That a door frame will be broken off the wall. That swearing will fill your house (by your child, not yourself. At least not out loud.) That dishes will be thrown and broken. That walls will be punched wide open. That you will be physically attacked. That chairs will be destroyed. On and on. So when all that stops, your body just naturally keeps anticipating those terrible things that used to be normal. It takes a lot out of you! And slowly you start to realize that in fact, the tantrums and rages have come to a stop, possibly forever, but at least for the near future. What an incredible feeling. I feel so free and light and in love with motherhood and my children. It's so wonderful to LIKE your children. I've always loved each of them fiercely. I have not always liked what their little nervous systems and brains have changed them into.

I love the craziness of life with our four kids. I love the "recipes" that are spread all across my kitchen (which my parade of children in chef hats has just announced is entitled "Ella's Crusty Crannies". They put their concoction into paper cupcake baking cups, topped with a pretzel and a cranberry. There must be at least one chef among them!!) I love having to get snacks for one boy while getting a spice for another's "recipe", while taking the head off a Lego guy for another while wiping flour out of my daughter's eye while sticking dinner in the oven while answering the phone and emptying the dishwasher and convincing Ben to do his homework before piano lessons tonight while convincing Jonah he really does need to practice his wonder I pass out the second I hit the pillow. I don't know how I got so lucky as to have been given the privilege of watching over these precious children. Every day I hope I'm doing enough to give them everything they need in life.

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