Posts tagged ‘disabilities’
My oldest son, Francis, grew up amongst a caravan of foster brothers and sisters. Specializing in newborns and infants who had been affected by prenatal drug exposure and addiction, our family was usually comprised of my husband and myself, Francis, his sister, Dinora, who had been adopted from Guatemala, and one or two foster babies. Despite the fact that Francis is severely visually impaired, he played an active role in child care, frequently holding a little one, feeding a bottle and changing diapers. When going to the mall, he and his sister would proudly push the double stroller. (With the 2 of them, he could be a pusher without having to see where he was going…) Throughout his childhood, sixteen foster babies lived with us, and caring for them was just a fact of life.
Francis is now an adult with a Ph. D. from Cambridge, a well paying dream job, a wonderful wife and a cozy home complete with a grill for grilling steaks and a lawn to mow. And, as of three weeks ago, a newborn baby. My week spent with his little family renewed my faith in the power of what is learned in childhood. Without even knowing it, I had trained Francis how to be a good father! He bundles his little girl up in a baby blanket, like I had bundled up those babies who were going through withdrawal. Newborns like being in a tidy bundle because they arrive with strong startle reflexes and without much control of their arms and legs. By pulling her arms and legs in close and securely wrapping a blanket around her little body, baby India can feel safe and secure. When she is awake and alert, Francis rocks her and sings songs to her, songs that he heard me sing so many years ago: “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “Hush Little Baby,” and “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”. Even though she couldn’t possibly know the songs, the sound of his voice quiets her, and these songs are easy to sing. When he is expertly changing her diaper, he plays “This Little Piggy” with her toes, gently pulling her feet to his mouth to kiss. He exaggerates the “wee wee wee home” by tracing his finger from her toes to her chin, tickling her slightly before kissing her forehead. And while she sits in his arms on the couch, ready for bed, he reads her books with very large print; “Goodnight Moon”, and “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”.
On the evening before I left to fly home, he looked over at me and thanked me for giving him the opportunity to practice on all those babies years ago. All of his friends are having babies now, he said, and they are all in a tizzy. Because of the practice HE had, he is a confident parent and not at all nervous with India. I realized that by being a foster parent to infants, I was not only caring for little ones, but also nurturing parenting skills in my oldest sons, skills that will ensure he will be an awesome father!
For more stories about Francis childhood and our adventure with foster children, please, read my book. Here is a link:
We traditionally celebrate birthdays and special occasions at our house because our family home has plenty of room for our teen and young adult kiddos and their significant others, plus, well, I’m the MOTHER who is expected to host celebrations. My recent birthday party was well attended, but having to clean the house prior to the party put somewhat of a damper on the occasion for me. Therefor, I declared that my children are old enough that I no longer have to host events where I am the honoree. While I have certainly appreciated all of the home-made artwork, baubles and trinkets, flowers, candy, (especially those Swedish Fish,) gift certificates and sweaters, what I would REALLY like is to have a day off with no work. No cleaning. No cooking. No hosting.
A nice breakfast out would be great. I don’t eat much and I promise to stick to the $2.90 “breakfast special” and not order extra bacon.
Or a lunch at a local family restaurant where others will do the serving and cleaning.
Or even out for an ice cream sundae. Or a shake at Burger King. ANYTHING where I don’t have to do any work!
Better yet, they could chip in and get me a gift certificate for a spa day. I dream of getting a massage or a mani/pedi, and their thoughtfulness could make my dream come true.
Alas, my children do not read my blog. So I will get flowers or candy or gift certificates this Sunday, which I WILL appreciate. Just don’t ask me to clean my house so they can come for lunch. They will have to step around the dust bunnies and join me in the backyard where I’ll be relaxing with a frozen wine cooler in my hand, serenely looking at the gentle waves washing over the jumping fish and turtle heads popping up from the small lake behind our house, marveling that time has flown by and my children have successfully reached young adulthood, and savoring in that reality. Ah…life is good…
I wrote this post more than five years ago. These words were expressed when I was working full time and trying to raise 2 kiddos with ADHD, 2 with ADD, and 2 with RAD. I have cooled down a bit, and things have improved immensely. (I know many people are anti-medication for good reasons, but for me, my children would not have survived with out it.) I have nostalgia for several of the comments, and say “GOOD RIDDANCE” to the things I don’t have to worry about anymore!
And so, without further ado, The ABCs of ADHD redux!
I’ve read the articles and books on ADHD. I know the discipline methods, positive reinforcement, rewards and time outs, the methods of Ross Green, sensory diets, nutritional preferences and the medications that work best. But I also know the realities of ADHD. In real life terms, the ABCs of ADHD/ADD are:
Attention! Always on alert for dangerous situations due to impulsive behaviors, such as running across streets without looking, grabbing a butcher knife to cut the end off a banana, running up the down escalator, and grabbing the dog or any other animal roughly and the dog (or other animal) retaliating by biting (or scratching.)
“Be careful! Be careful! Be careful” is the parent mantra.
Climbing climbing climbing: out of the crib at age 15 months, out of the bedroom window when a teenager, on rock walls and curbstones and couches.
Don’t touch that! Don’t do that! Don’t hit her! Don’t pull that! Don’t eat that! Don’t hurt it! Don’t break it!
Exhausted parents trying their best to keep up.
Friendships are difficult.
Go! Go! Go! They’re always on the go!
Helpless parents, unable to control their child’s behavior, especially embarrassing in the grocery store under the staring eyes of others, judging them.
If only he’d… If only she’d…. Parents dream for a different lifestyle.
Jumping Bean: he goes here and there from friend to friend to friend, never staying long enough to establish a real friendship.
Kitchen walls are written on, cupboard doors have nicks in them, curtains are ripped, bedrooms are messy.
LOVE. Parents give unconditional love, but the behavior doesn’t change because the ADHD remains…
Medication? Medication? Medication? Should I use it or should I not?
Not paying attention in school so schoolwork suffers: not paying attention for homework, so it’s a nightly fight: not paying attention to other’s feelings, so keeping friends is difficult.
Overload happens easily and tantrums result. Keep it quiet. Keep it simple. Keep it under stimulated for peace.
Psychiatrists have become my best friends!
Questions! Questions from them all the time! Especially hard to escape when you are stuck riding in the car together.
Rewards for good behaviors; cuddles, high 5s, stickers, ice cream, Playstation, tv.
Self-esteem is low; it seems as though parent’s and teacher’s patience is limited; always the troublemaker, always in trouble.
Time-outs in the seat till we’re blue in the face. All the time spent in time-outs would add up to a year in the life.
Understanding is needed from parents, family, friends and teachers; understanding is often in short supply.
Very draining on all, child and adults.
Whining, whining, whining until parent’s ears hurt.
X-rays, CAT Scans and emergency room visits: active behavior results in injuries.
YIKES! What has he done NOW?!?!
Zest for life would be a polite way of putting it…
To read more about those early years, struggling to raise children, please read my book. Here is a link:
A new year has begun! Whoopee! I am so excited to see what great things the new year brings! I only have two annual New Year’s resolutions:
Resolution #1: I think back on last year, and am grateful for all of the wonderful little things that worked out well.
*Found out about Orange Leaf yogurt place where I could get healthy sugar free, non fat yogurt with my choice of toppings, m&ms, hot fudge (yum!), gummy bears, snickers and all the whipped cream I can fit!
*My daughter, Marie, has finally found a counselor trained in trauma and abuse who is fluent in American Sign Language. After all these years! FINALLY she is able to make some progress in this area. As her mom, I have been the only one she has confided in, and it will be nice to share that weight with a professional.
*I loved watching The Good Wife! And Storage Wars! And Survivor!
*I lost a pound and a half. Not quite my goal of 30 pounds, but at least it is in the right direction!
*I have two new grandchildren on the way with a whole lifetime to enjoy them. (Long live nana!)
*Another year accident free…where’s my check from Allstate?
*Another year major illness free! (The hubby had a bout with colon cancer a few years ago, but has been fine ever since surgery because it was caught early.)
*My daughter, Dinora, has a great new job, a fiance, and a cute little house.
*My son, Steven, (who has autism and ADHD,) has a wonderful new fiancee whose OCD keeps things structured and in place for him, stabilizing his disability. (There IS someone for everyone!)
*During several great movies, (The Butler, Gravity, and all of the Pixar films,) I ate plenty of buttered popcorn and jelly bellies. (Ahhhhh! May be the reason I didn’t loose more weight.)
*My son, Angel, who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, has miraculously made it through high school without seriously harming anyone. (Except for the refrigerator he overturned on a teacher…which turned out to be the teacher’s “fault”. In Angel’s IEP was the stipulation that he cannot be yelled at lest the “angry part”, over which he has no control or memory, comes out to protect him, a reflex reaction.) Life with Angel is quite interesting…
*Our cars, both over 8 years old and with more than 150,000 miles each, are still running and getting us places.
*My son, Francis, who, despite his blindness, is still making boatloads of money in the Silicon Valley computer industry. (On less child I have to support.)
*All in all, another successful year with more ups than downs.
Resolution #2: I look forward to the coming year with optimism and enjoyment. Hopefully it will be another successful year with more ups and downs, and I will make memories to put on my list for #1 next year!
Hopefully, your life will also have joy, happiness, love, and some interesting foods to eat!
To read more about our life as a family, please read my book. Here is a link: