My youngest son, Conman, has ADHD. Or at least that's what the Dr. predicted, when at the age of two, she observed him climbing all over the exam table, running around the room and pretty much swinging off the light fixtures. OK, well maybe not swinging, but pretty close.
He was sensitive to light, and would sometimes wake up screaming uncontrollably from naps that his eyes hurt and he couldn't see. That will definitely freak a mom out. Today he sneezes alot the first time he goes out of the house into the sun. Sunglasses are a necessity! Tags on clothes bothered him; his socks bothered him. He had a bad habit of picking at his little thumbs until the skin around the nails was ragged. Getting his nails trimmed and hair cut or washed was torture. For both him and me. Even today I feel so sorry for the ladies when I take him in for a haircut. He is much better about washing his hair now, since he's old enough to wash it himself.
At the age of three, the Dr. confirmed her prediction and so off I went on a journey of research. We decided not to use medication. I scoured books written by parents who had been there; I searched websites.; I read (and still do read) every Christian parenting book I can get my hands on! I found the feingold diet which we diligently followed. Although, being a large change in our shopping & eating habits, it proved to be an invaluable tool in controlling behavior. He went from a little boy who would pull all the books off his shelves or the clothes off his hangers just because he could, to one who would settle down for a nap in the middle of the day with a story.
When he did not eat properly, we could see a dramatic difference in his behavior or schoolwork (he attended preschool for about a year). I was scared to send him to preschool, because I did not know if the teachers could handle him. He was not a "bad" child, just very busy, always moving & always talking. And it took a lot to get his attention! We were lucky because the two teachers he had were no nonsense and able to deal with him. They allowed me to bring in appropriate treats for him and worked well with me. But not everyday was a picnic.
He would cling to me when I dropped him off, and worry ,if because of errands or other plans, I was later than the usual time that I picked him up. He used to ask his teacher if she had a cell phone to call his mom, because I should have been there by that time. I did have to go retrieve him early one day because he wasn't behaving during nap time. It was shortly after that when I decided to pull him from preschool and teach him at home with the others. Since he learns quickly he was already past what his class was learning. I'm pretty sure he'll never attend a public school!
When I brought him home from preschool, I read the book "How do I get my Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning?" by Carol Barnier. I laughed hysterically throughout the book. I thought she might have been hiding in our closet and chronicling our life story. She mentions that her son used to fall off chairs and that made no sense to her. Conman had a habit of falling off our kitchen chairs. For no good reason. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop given by her last summer, and she asked how many people in the audience had kids that fell off their chairs-over 1/2 of the room raised their hands. Boy, was I ever relieved!
I know today that using the diet and behavior modification works best with him. I am thinking I need to go back to the full Feingold diet for him, as we have veered off some. I can tell by whininess, noncooperation in schoolwork, and complete defiance in some areas of obedience. I am also thinking maybe I need to drop a lot of the schoolwork and work mostly with him on character issues. And limit the Wii & TV. All of these things contribute to aggravating his behavior.
So why am I rambling about this?
This has been a difficult morning. He is not following instructions. He won't sit down at the table to join in group time, and when he is there, he's hopping between two chairs and yelling out answers, which then irritates his brother & sister. I have him sit in the other room to do copywork so now he's yelling answers from afar, which irritates the siblings even more. Instead of working on his math worksheet, he twirls the office chair in circles, and states he's not doing the math because I didn't tell him, "It was a test". He's written his own "to do" list, which consists of legos, playmobiles, snacks & visiting grandma. When I remind him schoolwork has to be done, he says, "It's not on HIS to do list".
Getting him to complete his morning jobs is like pulling teeth. Speaking of teeth, he has a loose front one which he refuses to brush or have brushed. And he won't wiggle it so it'll come out. Did I mention he's sensitive to things like that? Maybe I'll pull it out in his sleep....
Even with all of that, I wouldn't give this up for anything. I feel we're doing the right thing in homeschooling. I feel that is what's best for our children. And I do get compliments on their behavior in public...hmmm.....I guess I just needed to vent. I don't think I told you that my oldest is ADD. Hers is more just an attention issue.....
Why, oh why, is it so difficult to parent some days!