Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wave bye bye at the people, honey

When my kids were little, like toddler age, I couldn't take them anywhere. Granted, there were two of them and only one of me, and being outnumbered all the time, even by crafty 2 year-olds was kinda embarassing. But still, they ran in different directions, both had the devil in them, and they thought it was hilarious to watch me trying to run after them. Hahaha. Plus, they were LOUD. Oh, so freaking loud. There was no volume control at all, even after I called the hospital to ask where it was. Imagine my shock and horror to find that shouting WAS their only volume.

Once they got a bit older, I started taking them places again. The easiest place was shul, because they could run up and down the long hallway, and go outside into the courtyard with a bunch of other kids and play Mother May I. It's ok in synagogue for kids to come in and out, as long as they're quiet and respectful. So in and out they did come, leaving tot shabbat and then Jr congregation to check out what was going on in the main sanctuary.

But there were still problems. The Boy tended to melt down if he couldn't get his way, like in Boston Chicken asking for both chicken and macaroni and cheese, something we don't do (mixing milk and meat in the same meal). Besides making sure that we never entered a Boston Chicken again until he was about 12 solved that problem, but the meltdowns still did happen.

When we moved back from CA to MA 4 years ago, it was easier taking them most places, but the Boy, man he is a tough one. There was a period of time, before all his neurological issues came to light, when I couldn't really take him places at night because he would get so wound up that he just monopolized the conversations. He would go at top volume and never let anyone get a word in edgewise. This certainly didn't go over well with most people, but especially with members of my own delightful family, who had no patience or understanding at all about his issues. It was tough, because the more he wanted to fit in, the more he talked, and he just didn't get what a pest he was. And we've never been invited back. No, really. It's true. We're totally shut out, even on holidays.

So we worked a lot on social skills and being more open to other people's opinions, etc. Not that he's perfect, not by a longshot, but he's learned over the years not to be such a monopolizer of conversation, and not to argue incessently, or to correct people's grammatical errors. This has made him much more likeable. So we can go places and he can behave without meltdowns, and without driving everyone else nuts. This is a HUGE step forward.

Tonight we had dinner at a friend's house for Rosh Hashona. Well before we left, he asked me if it were ok for him to take a small dose of his ADHD meds. Wow, that was a major breakthrough for him. Major! He actually acknowledged to himself that he needs to settle down right when his meds wear off, and this was so great for me to see. He took his meds and was absolutely charming this evening. Quiet and well mannered, very polite, and very respectful of others in the conversation whilst participating himself. He did a great job.

But the greatest job was sight unseen until after we came home. Our friends have a 16 year-old autistic son who has some pretty severe emotional issues. This past summer he spent 8 weeks at a special camp where they worked on his social skills as well as manners, behavior management, and basic conversation. He got back and started a new school in a sheltered program that emphasizes social skills and behavior management. The change from last spring to this fall is very noticable. He's doing GREAT. Really really great.

The Boy spent time with kid upstairs on the computer and game cube, and usually it's a real chore for him because of the kid's issues. The Boy, who has known this kid his whole life, is very good about being understanding and trying hard to get along. But tonight the kid asked the Boy if he wanted to play, which was different. And up they went and spent a couple of hours doing whatever they were doing, without an argument and without someone hogging the game controller.

When we got home, the Boy said to me, "Wow mom, A's social skills are really much better. He's way easier to get along with and he let me have a turn with the controller without me even asking. It's great to see how much he's improved!"

Which is good. But what really got to me, what brought me to tears, was how much they both have improved, and how much easier it is to have a nice dinner without someone throwing a fit. I'm so thrilled for both of these boys. It makes my heart sing to see that they can deal with their own issues, and boy, they both have them in spades, and yet spend 3.5 hours together and feel good at the end of it. That is markedly different, and for that I'm so thankful.
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Blogger craziequeen said...

Yay the Boy!!

But also, yay for mom. Without your support and hard work, Boy wouldn't be half the young man he is now......


24/9/06 4:56 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

I can definitely relate here. I can think of many times when I have held back on going out or doing certain things because of A.'s "issues"... things are finally turning around here for us too (crossing fingers) and I can almost feel your sigh of relief...lol. This was a great post, it really made me smile.

24/9/06 7:33 AM  
Blogger blackbird said...

I'm happy with you...

24/9/06 9:21 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Here from Michele today and, I'm not gonna lie, after reading your post, I'm a little frightened to have kids of my own. My husband will thank you for this as you may have cured me of my baby fever for a while. : )

Congrats on the progress of your son. That is truly great news and speaks volumes about your parenting skills. Great work.

24/9/06 5:08 PM  
Blogger Wordnerd said...

What a wonderful story!

Here from Michele's!

24/9/06 5:41 PM  
Blogger panthergirl said...

I could have written that post. Years before my son was born, if you had told me I'd be medicating my child I would have said you had rocks in your head.

ADHD meds (my son takes THREE) have saved his life. When I see children and recognize the signposts of an unmedicated ADHD kid, I feel sorry for them. They become social pariahs.

My son is 11 now, and has two "best" friends for the first time in his life. He still goes to therapy, to group social skills therapy (which is GREAT...the kids call each other on their crap) and is in a special class at school called "Bright/Fragile". I'm lucky to have such a program.

I was lucky in that my daughter was already 9 1/2 when Luke was born. I don't know how you did it with two.

I'm sure we could share a million stories that would be identical... scary, isn't it? But the good news is that there's hope and help for them.

Hugs to you!
(brought here by michele, and I'm so glad)

24/9/06 6:14 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

Sometimes, kids have an amazing ability to prove to us just how incredible they have become.

Maybe this is his way of showing you that a new year has begun, and he's ready, willing and able to step up to the plate. Mazel tov, mom. You have every right to kvell, as your investment is beginning to pay off.

24/9/06 8:03 PM  
Blogger gordaboo said...

Wow. Good for the boy and you for realizing that something has to be done and you did it. I have "a boy" that I have been having some problems with and let me tell you , it's a day to day struggle. Glad to know I'm not alone.
Way to go!

25/9/06 11:58 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate a holiday. Congratulations!

26/9/06 8:40 PM  

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