Today I was over it by 08:40 am. With two children successfully in school and one refusing to come down from his high-rise bed, I was officially over it.
Every morning is a struggle at the moment. My mainstream child is simply a dream when it comes to school. Thankfully. He gets his homework done on time, he gets up every morning on time and in the entire time of being at secondary school, two years, he has missed the bus once. Praise the Lord for that child. I mean don’t get me wrong, he has other things that drive me bonkers, like the state of his room, but on the subject of school, brilliant!
My other two with ADHD are a different story. My daughter is generally amazing at getting up and getting ready. Just hope and pray that something doesn’t go wrong along the way. And by this, I mean anything from toothpaste splatter to the feel of a sock, to hair issues, to her brother (more of that later). Then it is World War III, sailor swearing and school refusal. Joy.
The other issue is medication. For ages, she hated taking medication. Simply because she couldn’t take it. We tried capsules, opening capsules, capsules with yoghurt or apple sauce and capsules with Nutella. Then we had to change to a liquid. But for her size and height, she needed to drink a gallon for it to be effective. Well, maybe not a gallon, but trying to get her to take it felt like a gallon of liquid. And yes, we tried it in many different forms, with orange juice, yoghurt drinks, and squash, but no.
Now we are on hard tablets and it seems to be going ok. She’s been doing really well. ‘Been’ being the word. I stupidly thought it would be a nice idea for her to join an online group of teens with ADHD so she didn’t feel alone. She never writes just reads comments, which again is great because being dyslexic she doesn’t like reading so I’m happy when she reads anything, to be honest! Well, not everything. I digress.
She joined this group and then announced to me she was going to stop taking her meds because ‘they’ all agree it changes their personality and they shouldn’t have to change their personality. Of course, they shouldn’t, but for the love of God, we do sometimes need a change in temperament. So, this is the latest challenge with her. To be fair, I think I have solved this, or rather compromised on it. We have talked about the pros of medication at school and she does agree with how her medication helps her through the school day. Win! However, she is now refusing to ever have them at weekends or over the holidays. I’ve conceded this one.
But, you can see how life is never easy with ADHD. And this is just a minuscule part of it!
Now my son. He’s 10 and doing brilliantly on medication. Still a cheeky little chap but is now able to access the curriculum by sitting still long enough to understand what is being asked of him. He even loves the effect it has had. But, and of course, there is a but. He has grown taller recently, and therefore the medication is not as effective as it was. I’ve noticed it, his school has noticed it, my friends have noticed it, and even he has noticed it. He literally can’t sit still and needs to narrate his life from the moment he wakes till hopefully, he sleeps at night.
So yes, we have been back to CAMHs for a review of his medication, and they are sending out assessment forms for us all to complete. Well, that’s what they said two weeks ago. When I called to chase yesterday, funnily enough, they were just about to send them. That’s all well and good but life is getting unbearable for all of us at present. Here is my typical morning.
I wake up, my eldest is up with me, we get ready, and he leaves at 7:40. Perfect.
My daughter is awake at about 7:15 and gets ready (fingers crossed all goes smoothly). She gets her taxi at 8:10. Perfect.
Wake youngest about 7:20; 7:30; 7:40; 7:50 hopefully by this time he wakes up and gets up. Hopefully. I get everything ready for him, bowl, spoon, cereal, vitamins, and meds. Then he sits down to eat and I have to prompt him to chew every 30 seconds because anything distracts him, his own little thoughts! It must take him 30 mins to eat a bowl of soggy cereal. Don’t get me started on porridge which he likes to eat with the consistency of mashed potato.
After this it’s the dressing stage (I have tried to get him to dress first and even during chewing time), then teeth. I get his drink and snack but make him pack it and then hopefully he goes off to school.
I work three days a week at a school, I have to leave by 8:30 on the dot or I’m late and I can’t leave him at home and hope he makes it to school as we just know that would never happen!
So, this was my morning today, thankfully a non-working day (non-working, ha! Mums are never non-working and def not non-working when you are a single mum of three kids two with ADHD! *rant). But by this I mean I didn’t have to leave at 08:30 on the dot.
Eldest left for school at 7:40, yay!
Daughter is ready and medicated, yay!
Youngest slowly waking. I try where possible to wake him on my ‘days off’ after my daughter has gone to school so that they don’t clash. They both have ADHD and my daughter has no tolerance for her brother whatsoever.
I called him to come down for breakfast. My daughter called him also as she was still upstairs, and because he didn’t answer, she lost it with him! Screaming at him to get up, Stop ruining our mornings! Mum does everything for you, it’s not fair, you get your breakfast made, vitamins ready, bottle ready, clothes ready (not always!) and all you have to do is get up and you can’t even do that! Then she told him she wished he would die, and life would be better, which resulted in him getting out of my bed, yay progress, (ah yes, forgot to mention, he now sleeps with me every night), and going into his bed, which is a high riser (opposite of progress).
I called my daughter down and asked her not to get involved but now she’s heightened and ranting about her brother in a very loud voice and saying how he ruins every morning blah blah blah. I mean don’t get me wrong, he does ‘ruin’ most mornings! I’m a pretty sunny person in the morning, thankfully, but after mornings like this, every bit of sunshine has drained from my body and needs to be replaced by caffeine. However, being the adult and his parent, I understand that he genuinely doesn’t mean to ‘ruin’ every morning.
I have tried to get her to understand that their ADHD presents differently and that her brother’s inability to ‘get going’ in the morning is his procrastination at its finest. I have explained to her that she does things that we’ve had to tolerate over the years. Especially her twin who has had to put up with a lot, bless him.
But whilst she has the most empathy for anyone else, she can not find it for her brother. Which often results in us arguing, or rather me listening to her rant and trying to remain calm and interjecting, I hear you, I understand but can we just talk about it? She just won’t listen. Even when I try to talk about it later with her when everyone is so much calmer, you see her stiffen up as I try to discuss it and her back is up already and off she rants.
So, thankfully her taxi arrived and off she went. She has no idea what carnage she left behind. I went into my son and was told to, GO AWAY. Apparently, I had allowed her to yell at him. I tried to explain to him that he has to meet me halfway in the mornings (I have obviously discussed this with him many times before and he has always agreed). He said he was just about to get ready when his sister had yelled at him and so now he wasn’t going to school. I told him he had to go and that I was jumping in the shower and he needed to be ready by the time I had finished. Firm but fair.
After said shower I went back to his room and lo and behold, his clothes were still on the hanger. ARGH! RIGHT!!! Now cross mum comes out. I hate being this mum, it tires me out and is used pretty rarely as I know not to fight fire with fire, but sometimes it’s the only mum they listen to.
I tell him he’ll be grounded for the remainder of the week; that he will have no phone and no electronics if he doesn’t get up. Of course, as a mum that is also a huge punishment on you, I hate to say it, but needs must.
He looks at me and says, NO.
I say it’s not a threat I’m doing and clear room of all electronics.
He defiantly says fine and sits on his high riser, watching me saying, I’m NOT going.
I’ve played my Ace and he’s still not moving!!
At his point, I decide to come down and make a cuppa. I send a note to school saying he’s had a bad night and I’m letting him sleep in for a bit, buying me some time. I message my friend and receive some much-needed sympathy and a pat on the back.
And breathe. 08:40 am. How can my day be so bad and it’s only bloody 08:40 am?
What do you do when a child simply refuses to go in? And sits on their high riser. I had thought to call the school and tell them the truth but as a parent of a child with ADHD, you already know they judge you and feel you just can’t control your child and the problem is with you and your parenting so I knew that wasn’t an option.
Well, within about 10 minutes, he came down.
Sheepishly made himself some breakfast and apologised. I had thought it would go on longer, to be honest. I don’t know if it was genuine remorse or hunger pains that brought him down but I was just glad he did.
Eventually, I took him in at 10:15. I came home exhausted. I would honestly rather have been at work! People think I have it easy because I only work three days. I could scream. So much energy is needed when you have children, then times that by 100 when you have children with ADHD. You never know what your day is going to hold! And yes I know all children have tantrums. Until you have experienced an ADHD meltdown mixed with a little ODD, please don’t think you get what us ADHD parents are talking about!
Anyway, I made myself a coffee, the last one had gone cold and I ate something sugary. Then I thought I would write about my day. Day? Make that morning, who knows what the evening will hold! I’m sure you will all relate and that will make me feel so much better.
Thanks for the rant.