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I have such a love/hate relationship with summer. I love the warm nights hanging out by the pool. I love the break from homework and stresses of school. I love the family vacations. I hate the lack of structure and unpredictable schedule. I hate the never ending sibling rivalry. I hate the numerous daily requests to play with any device.
I could go on and on but you get the gist. I want to take a second here to apologize for my lack of posts here on ADHDaze. This summer schedule really has gotten the best of me plus I’m working on another big project that I will announce soon!
I wrote about my plans for summer earlier here but this time around I’m in the thick of it.
This is going to have to be a quick post because it’s just minutes until I have to leave again to get the kiddos from camp. Here are a few things that are helping me keep my cool. Although I have to admit I’ve lost it a few more times than I would like to admit.
We have a firm rule in our house…no more than 1 hour of screentime per day! This hasn’t slowed the ENDLESS requests I get to watch tv, play on the iPad, play on my phone etc. etc.
I dug our Time Timer out of retirement and started to use it as a visual reminder of how much time is left before the screens go dark. I can’t say this has eliminated all meltdowns but certainly minimized them.
Amazon to the Rescue (again)
Another lifesaver has been Alexa. The kids love to use their Echo Dots to play music, play games, check the weather and so much more. Just yesterday, they figured out how to call each other from one dot to the next. This provided at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted entertainment (without a single sibling squabble). It’s been helping me to build my shopping list. Hubby often forgot (thanks ADHD) to write things down on the list when he’s cooking…now all he has to do is ask Alexa to add it to the list. GENIUS!!
My husband and I are the epitome of the saying “ships passing in the night.” And this night, about one year ago, was definitely one of those nights. I’m fuzzy about all the details of the day but what is ingrained into my memory was the moment I second guessed myself. My husband was out with his buddies and moments after I had given Pickles her nightly meds I had that sinking feeling. I wondered if by chance he had given her the medication too before he left…and one quick phone call confirmed it was true.
I started to panic. The medication in question was used to control her tics but it was initially developed as a blood pressure medication. My first instinct was to text my girlfriend (whose hubby also was enjoying whatever guys night out outing festivities were occurring). My friend is an internal medicine doctor and her calm voice soothed my nerves a bit but in the end I had to phone the on-call pediatric nurse which ended up sending us to the ER. We had a very long night of blood pressure monitoring before we were finally sent home tired but unharmed.
This sent a message to me loud and clear that we need to have a better system for monitioring medications in our home. The sad thing is that I still haven’t done anything about it!!! Here are the things holding me back (aka excuses).
whatever the solution…it needs to be simple so my husband can be on board too
while my daughter has multiple medications she takes for ADHD, my son has asthma so we have one and sometimes up to four inhalers/nose sprays in the mix
we have 2 places where we keep medications, in the kitchen & upstairs, we do this for convenience because the medicines are stored right where we dose them
So What’s Next??
At her last appointment, Pickles psychiatrist mentioned using a pill box to sort out daily ADHD medications. Why did I never think of this?? For some reason in my mind I equated those weekly pill boxes with the elderly. Of course we could use one too to keep our family on track. In fact I just ordered this one. Also, I just purchased this Prescriptions Printable and will keep it on the clipboard right next to our medications in the kitchen.
What is you experience with organizing medications??
Have you ever had a pair of shoes that you LOVED!? The fit, the style, everything was perfect but they were loved so much that they lost their sparkle. Maybe you take them to a cobbler or bust out that shoe polish and start buffing away until they regain their shine.
Occupational Therapist, Cobbler to the Mind
Pickles received a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder before her ADHD diagnosis. I remember thinking it was so odd that she would often go through a room running her hand over multiple surfaces. She would even step on toys or other items on the floor intentionally. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
We were sent to an Occupational Therapist (OT) and at first I was very skeptical. How were swings, crash pads and playdoh going to help my daughter? My mommy instints told me there was something going on neurologically and she needed help…not a glorified playdate.
But, I kept coming back mostly because she loved it but I also got a sense that this place and her amazing OT finally understood her. They saw that beautiful and perfect shoe that needed to be buffed. A few more crashes into the foam pit or dives into the rice box would give her vestibular system that feedback it was desperately craving.
Vestibular? Sensory Integration Therapy? What Does All this Mean?
The first time I walked into the run down but very loved home that housed the Occupational Therapy facility I was overwhelmed with new vocabulary. Next week I will explore these terms further. But, I am here to tell you to trust the system! If you suspect that your son or daughter might have sensory issues seek out an Occupational Therapist in your area and start polishing.
What is your expierince with Occupational Therapy?
She was only two years old when I noticed she wouldn’t stop squinting. She kept doing it over and over and over again. It had gotten to the point where others were noticing too. I remember so clearly the day my in-laws asked, “What’s wrong with her eyes?” I booked a doctors appointment the next day.
She was given an eye exam and we were asked a few questions. The doctor then reported she had tics. Immediately my mind went to Tourettes and screaming profanities (now I know this happens to only a minority of those living with Tourettes). Our doctor reassured me that tics were common in children and will likely disappear with time. I was shaken but wanted to believe our pediatrician.
We went back to life as usual but the tics didn’t go away. In fact they seemed to take on a life of their own. The squinting would change to shoulder shrugging then the vocal tics began. It was excruciating to watch her move uncontrollably. I wanted to do something to help her…anything! She was so little I had to be brave for her and let go of my own insecurities.
What I soon came to discover was that drawing attention to her tics made them worse. I had to bite my tongue every time I wanted to ask her to please stop. Long car rides were like torture when her vocal tics were going. It’s one thing to try and control my own reactions to her sounds when confined in a small space but try explaining vocal tics to my 3 year old son that often shared the small confined space with us. Again, I had to be brave. I had to be strong.
Back to school, tics and all
As pickles entered elementary school the roller coaster ride of all these tics became almost unbearable. Stress always increased the frequency of her tics and the beginning of the school year is the height of stress for Pickles. The days leading up to the start of 2nd grade I was riddled with anxiety. Her vocal tic at the time was a very high pitched squeak and it was almost constant. How was this going to play out in a mainstream classroom?
As a second grader, Pickles knew what her tics were and she wanted them to stop. We tried redirecting her anxiety using stress balls and chewing gum. That helped a little but I knew she was about to face an obstacle I never had to at such a young age. My heart ached for her. Kids can be so cruel and quick to judge when a classmate doesn’t look and sound just like them.
Pickles taught me a new kind of brave. I had to face my fear so it wouldn’t get in her way.
I’m not going to lie the first few months of second grade were rough. My eight year old little girl had more courage than I could ever imagine. She went into that classroom each day head held high, tics and all!!
Comment below on a time your child inspired you or made you view the world in a different way.
Anyone else feeling the anxiety of those last few weeks of school? Not only is our calendar booked almost every single night with baseball games, Open House, choir performances and on and on…but the open ended days of summer loom on the horizon. Don’t get me wrong I love summer just as much as the next girl but as you know the freedom of unstructured days can spell disaster for a kid with ADHD.
Here’s my top ten list of things you can do to make your summer more enjoyable (or at least minimize the meltdowns)
1. Yep you guessed right….Structure:
I know creating structure comes more naturally for some but if you can even say keep a regular bed and wakeup time Monday-Friday that will help. Baby steps people!!
Since Pickles is now 10 years old I have had some experience chauffeuring her around to various camps. I have adopted the philosophy that we have to strike a balance of time at camp versus just time to chill. Local day camps give kids a chance to develop their strengths and gain self confidence. I am interested in the idea of sleep away camps and I’ve had my eye on this one. If the staff and camp are informed of the unique challenges for your kid it can be an amazing experience that will help them grow.
Wait! Don’t stop reading yet…hear me out on this one. Many kids with ADHD also struggle with other developmental and learning delays so incorporating a little academics throughout the summer month will help keep them from suffering a “summer setback.”
4. Make a Bucket List
In these last few weeks before school or during the first few days of summer have your kids write down (or brainstorm with you) a list of everything they would like to do this summer. Of course, make sure they know this is just a wish list but it will make it easier for you to plan some activities.
5. Visit your Local Library
I’m blessed with two little bookworms and a local library with a super cool summer reading program!! Honestly, my kids beg to go to the library and I try to indulge them each week over the summer (if we are home) but it helps that it is convenient. If you don’t have a library that is convenient Barnes and Noble is has a summer program for you..
That’s all for this week I have to get back to conquering the calendar. Please take a minute to join our email list so you don’t miss a thing here at ADHDaze.
Is this not the motherhood you had envisioned? Not the picture perfect life you aspired to? When you first held your baby in your arms, I bet you couldn’t imagine the struggles you would face each day to just get your family out the door each morning. As you celebrated their first step, you were totally clueless to the sideways glances you would get years down the road when they proceeded to bounce off the walls.
I am right there with you my friend. This is not the team I signed up for either!! When your child’s doctor broke the news that your precious peanut has ADHD your world shifted. You would soon learn about all the obstacles your kid would have to face (or maybe you are still learning). I’m still learning too.
I learned that the hyperactivity (while sometimes beyond annoying) isn’t the worst of it. Having to dig through yet another gross pile of lost and found at school to find the misplaced coat, isn’t the worst of it. Tracking down homework for the millionth time this week that never seems to make it to and from school, isn’t the worst it. Yep, the worst thing is realizing your sweet innocent child can’t separate themselves from this disease.
They may call themselves stupid. You might watch them struggle to make friends. And you will definitely lose it more than just a few times trying to help them hold it all together. But you’ve got this girlfriend!! I know you do because I do too!!!
It is our job to teach our children that they are not ADHD! ADHD is something that they have but we are here to teach them ways to harness its power. They have creativity and energy that we cannot fathom. Yes, the world will ask them to conform to it’s boring routines and rhythms but we are here to help them figure out how. And no matter how many timeouts or sideways glances they may get we love our kids unconditionally. Don’t ever forget to remind them….each and every day!
Happy Mother’s Day fellow warrior. You may not have chosen this elite breed of parenthood but I’m damn sure you’ve got what it takes.
Musical.ly has become an obsession for my daughter. It has become an obsession for her friends too. As a mom I’m concerned about her safety on this social media site but I don’t want her to become socially isolated by restricting her from it completely.
What to do??? I decidedly to dive deeper into the world of Musical.ly to come up with a plan.
What is Musical.ly
For those of you that haven’t heard of it yet (lucky!) Musical.ly is an app for smartphones that allows kids to make pretty cool videos of them dancing, lip-synching or really whatever they chose to document. Musical.ly says it is for 13+ but I found videos from kiddos much younger. The site encourages sharing and networking.
I can see why making fun videos and sharing them with her friends is fun for Pickles but as I have written here before her ADHD has caused some big problems with various electronics around our house.
Here’s the good news!! You can set controls on your child’s account so that only approved friends can see their videos and send messages. Here’s how:
Also, it’s important to know that although you took the precautions to set the privacy controls any information listed in your child’s profile is public…anyone can see it!!
The Bad News
The search function on Musical.ly has no filters. Kids can search for whatever they want and sometimes the results can be well…not at all something you want your kid seeing. Musical.ly users can report explicit or inappropriate content and Musical.ly reserves the right to take down any content they find inappropriate. Beware content is not pre-screened.
Also, once your kid creates an account you cannot delete it. Yep, you read that right you cannot delete it. One thing I did find in my research is if your kiddo (under 13 years of age) created an account you can report it to Musical.ly and they will take it down. I’m definitely going to threaten this little gem just in case the temptation to say start following celebrities becomes too great.
At first I found Musical.ly a little disturbing but now that I’ve spent some time figuring it out I think I can work out an arrangement with Pickles that will work for both of us. The majority of videos are super cute and creative. Plus, it’s an opportunity to have an open dialogue about safe use of social media.
update: I posted this about a month ago but didn’t realize the video was marked private on YouTube. Oopsie:) Here it is again for all of you to see. I have to admit I’m not always on top of updating this board with our daily schedule but I have been using it for daily reminders for things I need to discuss with the family. BONUS!!!!
Homework …ugh Homework!!! It’s not a fun topic in any household but if you throw in ADHD or some other learning disability it can go from bad to worse. QUICKLY. I get it.
My little guy is only 6 but already the homework headaches have begun. He has not been diagnosed with ADHD but we started behavioral therapy with him at the beginning of the school year since we were seeing signs of anxiety. His therapist had mentioned creating a daily schedule (similar to what he sees at school).
Check out this video (my first one EVER!) to see my solution.
My dream is that this visual calendar will ward off the major meltdowns that occur anytime the word homework is heard in our house. Fingers crossed! Please comment below if you try this…and how it works for you.
There’s this really cool train museum not far from where we live. Inside there’s a kids area with the most elaborate train table setup I’ve ever seen. About 5 years ago, when Pickles was only 5, we found ourselves there to meet a playgroup on a very rainy day. The place was PACKED!! Suddenly she turned to me and said, “mommy I can’t breathe.”
It was a panic attack and I knew it because this wasn’t the first time. I knelt down beside her and could feel her heart racing and see her gasping for breath. I calmly told her to close her eyes and just listen to my voice. I reassured her that everything was ok, held her close and kept repeating myself. As soon as I saw her breathing become more regular we quickly packed up and headed home.
Anxiety, ADHD’s Partner in Crime
Wikipedia defines comorbidity as “the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder; in the countable sense of the term, a comorbidity is each additional disorder or disease.”
What does that mean?
It means if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD it’s likely they have more than just that challenge to face. In Pickle’s case, in addition to ADHD she has anxiety and Tourette’s. There was an OCD diagnosis thrown at us at one point but I’m not convinced.
After doing a deep dive into the world of ADHD, I consider her lucky. Here’s a list of common comorbid diseases.
My philosophy has been knowledge is power. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of the conditions listed above. If you suspect you might be facing one of these disorders, do your homework. You will be better prepared to take on whatever you are up against.
Keep in mind that treatment for one disease might have a chain reaction for another. For example, Pickles was diagnosed with Tourette’s a few years before her ADHD diagnosis. When we finally decided to use medications, her tics were really really bad:( We started out with this in mind and her doctor chose a medication that was less likely to increase her tics.
It’s not fair! ADHD is a big enough challenge but to continue to layer on top these other diseases??!! Yep, but you do not have to face these challenges alone. Please follow along with my blog and we can face these demons together.