Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Labels, that's it, just labels

I'm giving you fair warning right now, this is one of my more serious posts.  I don't dig too deeply too often because, well, that's just not who I am.  I'm a pretty private person and I usually don't feel like baring my soul.  Having said that I've got something I'd like to talk about.

I think one of my children might have some sort of attention disorder, as in, it's a challenge for this child to focus, to follow the rules, to understand boundaries, to interact with siblings, I could go on.  This child, and no, I won't tell you who it is so if you know our family and have an idea of who it might be, please don't tell me.  Anyhow, this child that I helped create, that spent 38 weeks growing under my heart, that I love and cherish and that always tugs at my heart is having a hard time.  No, we haven't been to a doctor and we don't have an official diagnosis so nothing's certain but my gut is telling me something is off.  I also don't feel like we need to go the medication route right now.  We have time on our side and we have the opportunity to see if there are things that I can adjust in our environment that will help this sweet child.

I've been doing some reading, some asking, some praying and some fasting and I'm coming up with a few answers.  Across the board TV is a big problem, I don't know the scientific reasons but in a nutshell it teaches children to process things very quickly, much quicker than real life and that makes it hard for them to concentrate in a classroom, in the home or when playing with friends.  So we're cutting back on our television.  Raise your hand if you've ever used PBS Kids to get a shower in?  Yep, I have.  There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about food out there.  My common sense tells me that the closer I can get our food to it's natural state, the better it will be not only for this issue but for the good of my family.  That means Cheeto's are probably not a winner.  Darn.  Exercise is another idea.  Now whether it needs to be an organized activity or just more backyard time, the answers vary.  We're pretty low key around here, we definitely underschedule our kids and you know what, it works for this family.  However I do think learning to do specific, repetitive activities in an environment that is based on rules and consequences would help this little one.  I think I might look into Karate, isn't the idea behind martial arts focus and discipline?  There are lots of ideas out there and what works for one family might not work for another.

I am concerned about this child being labeled, whether it's by friends, teachers or family, I don't want this to become an issue.  Basically I don't want people's perceptions of this child colored by whatever diagnosis comes along.  I'm not trying to ignore problems that may come but I also don't want this to become a crutch for this child to lean on.  Here's an example that might make my point a little more clear.  When our twins were born our daughter, Pinky did not pass any of her hearing tests.  This went on for months and we just weren't getting any answers.  We weren't sure if she had any hearing loss and to what degree but we did know that no matter what happened we weren't going to treat her any differently.  She was still our perfect daughter, she would still accomplish great things, we just were going to communicate differently.  That's it.  Long story short, the problem ended up being some pretty nasty blockage, we fixed the problem and she's perfect and she's doing great things and let me tell you, the girl knows how to communicate!  My point is that the diagnosis doesn't define the child and we don't want it to become the convenient excuse for not succeeding at whatever it is our child chooses to do.  Does that make sense?  I hope you hear my heart and understand what I'm trying to say. 

Right now I don't know the answers.  I don't know the solution.  I don't know if this is a real problem or if this is just the age.  I just don't know.  I do know that I love my child with everything I have.  When I first held this baby I knew that this was a special one.  This little body has so much good and so much potential that it's just bursting to get out.  I guess it's my job to love unconditionally without labels or restraint.  I need to be that safe place when the world labels and judges and just doesn't understand.  I guess that's what motherhood is all about no matter what your child's challenges are.  Right now I am grateful for that.



  1. You are an amazing Mom with great insight. I trust you to do what is right for your family. This post is particularly poignant for me, as we enter the adoption process and many children have potential to develop ADD/ADHD. It's a risk that we have been weighing heavily. And obviously a risk we take regardless of how that child comes to us, right? Thank you for sharing. I particularly like your statement about your children's safe place - that is the ultimate goal for me. Love and hugs to you!

  2. Thanks for sharing Kristen. I recently wrote a really long post about one of my children who seems similar to this sweet child of yours, but I didn't actually publish it. Maybe I will send it just to you, but I felt I couldn't go public with it -- much in the same way that you aren't saying which of your children is struggling. Well, anyone who has ever met my kids would know instantly who I was talking about.
    I think you're headed in the right direction. We have avoided any labels/diagnoses/meds too, so far.

  3. Kristen your kids are all wonderful!! Even if one of them has a little bit of a struggle with paying attention and whatnot it's ok, they are still wonderful and we still love them just the same =) Brian has ADD and it made his life kinda crazy in school but he learned to manage it and does just fine. It is especially helpful for them if they have something they are really interested in to focus on. Brian loves to build things and is much easier to live with if he has a project of some sort to work on. You are a great mom and will figure it out and remember there are lots of us out there who love you and your cute little family no matter what!!

  4. Thank you! I've been overwhelmed by the support I've received. I'm feeling more optimistic and I'm certain we'll figure it out as we go along. So thank you a million times!


I wanna hear what you have to say, so write. Pretty please.