Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A diagnosis....

Last year, while Kenny was in second grade, we became concerned when he was falling behind in reading. We could tell he was really trying but it just wasn't clicking. He is actually very good at math- it really clicks for him, except when it involves reading (like story problems). I began to pay attention to the actual areas he was having trouble in and began to suspect dyslexia. I read up about it and it seemed to hit exactly where he was having trouble in reading. So, we took him to our pediatrician for a referral to have him tested for dyslexia.

We were sent to a developmental behavioral pediatrician. He did a full evaluation to detect for fine and large motor abilities and learning disabilities. He didn't detect anything specific at that appointment, but gave us a referral to a private special needs tutor who, he says, is really good at detecting and treating dyslexia. Another thing he mentioned was the possibility of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Huh? Really? I knew he was an active kid, but hadn't really considered it. He said that would be another explanation for falling behind in school. Especially since the doctor was noticing how fidgety and busy Kenny was in his office. He gave us evaluations for Aaron and I and his teacher to fill out. They came back as not significant for attention troubles, which did actually surprise me, since that is what his teacher was always punishing him for: not paying attention, tapping his desk, talking out of turn, etc. The doctor wasn't convinced based on what we and the teacher was saying and that it was different than the evaluations came out, so he wanted to wait till the new school year and see how things were then.

We took him to the tutor he recommended and she did not detect dyslexia, but that he does need extra help with reading, so we signed on with her and he was been seeing her once a week. It has been hard financially, but I feel we are making an investment in our child and that, in the future when he is successful, we will not regret a dime of it. So, we scrape it together a month at a time as we can.

At the beginning of this school year, we had him re-evaluated. Surprisingly, he is reading at a normal reading level now, which we are so proud of him!! The hard work with homework, summer reading and the tutor has paid off! However, I was still concerned because it takes constant attention to keep him caught up. Homework is really tough for him to get through- if I don't stay right with him, it would often be done wrong and needs redone. He gets way to easily distracted and doesn't stay focused. Third graders are supposed to be pretty independent with school work, but he is not yet. His handwriting is awful, despite efforts to get him to write neat and he doesn't focus well at school during work, causing him to not complete his work, or not follow directions and then scores low and making impulsive noises or humming during quiet time. So, his new teachers and us again had to do another evaluation. This one also came back as non-significant, but again, with the symptoms he is showing, the doctor wasn't convinced. He told us about a computer test that is about 80-90% accurate in detecting ADHD.

On one hand, I really did not want to diagnose him with ADHD. But, I also wanted to be able to help him and understand why school work seemed to be so much harder for him than other kids. So, we did the test. He was given a task to do on the computer while a head gear he wore tracked his movement and how well he stayed focused. The test came back strongly ADHD! His head was all over the place the entire time and after about 5 minutes (of 15 total for the test) , he checked out completely and didn't follow directions the rest of the time. So, the doctor diagnosed him based on the test and the many other observations over the course of 6 months. As much as I feared this diagnosis, I have to admit I am a little relieved to have an answer. Again, here were the symptoms we saw:

1) falling behind in schoolwork
2) not focusing on work well-constantly needing reminded to pay attention
3) very fidgety
4) needing constant attention to get through homework- homework takes a large amount of time
5) at home, moves quickly from one activity to the next- rarely focuses on one activity for a long time
6) impulsive with words and noises- doesn't always think before acting. Hums and sings during quiet time, despite constant reminders to stop.
7) Fast and sloppy- often illegible- handwriting
8) Trouble making friends

I was hesitant to do medication. I was hoping for maybe just behavior therapy. I think I fear the stigma of a kid on ADHD meds- as if I am choosing to medicate rather than good parenting. Also, I fear side affects, such as turning my happy go lucky kid into a slug. However the doctor explained that ADHD is often from a chemical reaction in the brain (much like depression) and that behavior therapy alone may work, but usually it takes medication to get a significant response. So, based on what he said, we are giving the medication a try- starting with the lowest dose and working up as needed. Plus, he said it wouldn't turn him into a slug unless the dose was way too high. I am still nervous about the medication, but I feel the doctor is right about giving it a try (so, negative comments wouldn't be helpful....). I feel if we do whatever we can to make school a little easier now, it will pay off with less frustration as school gets even harder. I have actually noticed a little difference already!

I have been curious as to why the teachers evaluations came back as his troubles being non-significant, while at the same time I do have to admit many of his symptoms are obvious and those are the things they complain about (not focused, doesn't follow directions, trouble finishing tasks, poor handwriting). I think maybe it is two things. First, as teachers, I think they build up a tolerance after seeing kid after kid day after day. I also think that because Kenny (though busy) is not overly hyperactive, maybe it made it a little more confusing. One thing I have learned is ADHD isn't just a hyperactive kid bouncing off the walls- Kenny is not like that. He is able to stay in his chair when needed and he doesn't just run crazy all the time. But, he does have trouble as listed above.

He is such a good kid and never gets in real trouble. His behavior is great! He is kind and loving and one of the most compassionate kids I know. I have so much faith in him and have no doubt that he will be an amazing adult. He has the spunk, the friendliness, the love and compassion it takes to be a truly good person. He is always so willing to help me and others. That is part of the reason I chose to get over the fear and stigma I felt. I don't want his school frustrations to take him over, as it does many kids, to where he becomes overly frustrated and wants to give up. The one thing we have noticed is that he really is very smart and when things do connect, his knowledge soars. I am hoping that by treating him, we can get him over the hump and help him achieve what we know he can. He is such a fun part of our family!

I know this has been long and for my readers who actually hung in there, I am way impressed. I wrote this mostly for myself anyway, just to make sure I documented the journey we have been on the last 6 months.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It Only Took 8 Years.....

for the famous and inevitable question of "Is Santa real?" And, it wasn't our 8 year old that asked but our 6 year old, Jacob. I had just picked them up from school and this is how the conversation went....

J: Mom, is Santa Real?

Me: (thinking, here we go....) Why would you ask that?

J: James P said Santa isn't real! (James P is quite the trouble maker- Jacob is constantly talking about this kid getting in trouble.... I find myself not liking him much at this point too....)

Me: Well, if Santa isn't real, then who puts presents under the tree?

J: (Laughing...) Oh, that is good! I will tell James P that!! (I can tell he is thinking for a few moments then says:) Oh, I bet it is Daddy!!!! (and then laughs hysterically at the idea- as if, how crazy would THAT be...of course that can't be true!)

Kenny: (joins in the conversation, laughing hysterically too) I know- Mommy and Daddy get up in the middle of the night and put presents under the tree! (again, both laugh hysterically at this crazy idea....)

(laughter slowly dies down)

Me: Do you believe Santa is real?

Kenny & Jacob: Yes!!!

Me: Then there is your answer...

And the magic lives on at least a little longer.....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Guess What I Did Last Night (This Morning)???

Yep- this one of those other things I said I would never do. I went to the midnight showing of New Moon!! When my sister, Emily, first mentioned... about 1 1/2 months ago.... how badly she wanted to go to the midnight showing and that I should go with her, I thought she was nuts. It would certainly be fine to wait a few days to see the movie- at a more normal time! But, as she kept talking about it, I figured why not? It would be a fun adventure- especially since I had someone fun to go with. So, she bought the tickets about a month ago and it was already close to being sold out! Stephanie Meyer could NEVER have imagined where things would go when she first started writing Twilight.

Last night, we met at Steak N Shake at 10 pm, right next to the theater and enjoyed eating and chatting. We headed to the theater just before 11 and- not only was there already a HUGE line for the ultrascreen theater where we were assigned- but EVERY SINGLE SCREEN IN THE ENTIRE THEATER was sold out!!! We were in the first showing at 12:01, but the other screens were all full too, starting at 12:02,12:03, 12:04, etc. And, that was just this one theater. I am sure every theater in the country was like this! At least I am not the only one crazy enough to do that! So, we got our seats just before 11 and had more than an hour to kill. How does one pass an hour while waiting for the movie? It was so funny to see a sea of cell phone lights across the theater! Everyone was playing games, texting and (in our case) taking turns playing sudoku on Emily's phone! The time went quickly. I was very tired and not sure I would make it through the movie, but when it was over, I was more awake then before!
(not a flattering picture of me, but the best of the 3 she took and a good one of her. Almost didn't post it, but I guess it is good to document the good times and at least there is a good picture of me up top now. The flash on her camera was incredibly bright and this wasn't the first pic she took. I think the girl in the back covering her eyes in hilarious!!)

Here are my thoughts:
-It was definitely better done than Twilight.
-Edward didn't seem as hot in this one. But, maybe it is because he was overshadowed by Jacob's hotness once the werewolf gene kicks in. Wow..... I think I have moved over to team Jacob!
-images were vivid enough to give me nightmares. :)

It was a really fun night and am glad we went- I enjoyed hanging with my sister and it is kind of fun knowing I was among the first to see it. Though, I went to bed at 3 am and had to get up at 7:30. Ugh..... I am very tired. I got the boys off to school, but otherwise just don't have energy left for much more than blogging about it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rebels without a Clue

So, last Friday night, I went on- by far- the most creative date night I have EVER been on- thanks to my friends Autumn and Katie. It was so different than anything I am ever done and I am so grateful to have creative friends. I forgot my camera that night, but they took a couple good pictures. So, instead of writing the whole post, I am going to cheat and send you to Katie's Blog to read all about it. Seriously- I am quite sure none of you have ever thought of anything like this before. And, when the cop showed up at the end, it truly made the night..... (now I really have you curious, don't I? Go read it!!!! )

Sunday, November 8, 2009

No Band-Aids!!!!

Has anyone ever heard of a child being afraid of or disliking band-aids?!?! Most kids I know insist on band-aids for boo-boos so small they don't even leave a mark. Well.... THIS sweet , adorable, spunky child hates them.This child had developed a fear of doctors offices and band-aids- as previously mentioned in this post and this post. She used to call them "gickers,"(the way she pronounced "stickers") though her developing speech as progressed to calling them band-aids. The fear came from getting her 2-year shots and the nurse putting "gickers" on after the shot. So, she associated band-aids with pain versus making the pain better. Ever since then- no matter how badly she needed band-aids, I could NEVER get her to keep one one. If I did successfully get one on, she would cry until she got it off herself.

So, I gave up in a sense. If it was a particularly bad boo-boo, I would wait until she fell asleep and sneak in her room and put one on. Of course, it would come off as soon as she woke and found it, but at least we were able to keep the boo-boo covered over night with a little Neosporin on it.

Last week, for some odd reason, she got quite a blister on her little toe that popped open. Again, she threw a fit at the thought of a band-aid despite promises it would help it feel better. So, again, my plan was to put it on after she fell asleep. Well, "mother of the year" forgot. The next day, I noticed a little blood on her sock. I tried again to put a band-aid on but she pitched a fit, so I didn't push since the bleeding had stopped by then anyway. I was sure it was painful, but unsure what to do. Cute little band-aids such as these didn't help her to waiver one little bit:

The next night, I put one on when she fell asleep. But, she woke to potty at 1:30 and cried and took it off. The next day, it busted open again and her sock was SOAKED with blood. That was the final straw for me. If I had to hold her down, she would wear a band-aid! I did NOT want it to get infected. That is exactly what I did. I held her down and put on a band-aid despite her fit. Once I had it on I told her she could absolutely NOT take it off. Surprisingly, though unhappy, she did not take it off! Her maturity must have progressed enough to understand I was serious! Plus, no doubt it had been quite painful and the neosporin was probably helping with the pain. She kept it on till the next day when it fell off.

And, guess what she did..... asked for another band-aid! I am so proud of her for conquering her fear!