FB status update. 01/06/2014:
Tahi turned 8. And I , the ever optimistic mother of an ADHD riddled young man thought it would be a fabulous idea to let him have 2 friends over for a sleep over. I reiterate the word ‘Optimistic’, being that I decided some time ago that playdates were a no-no. Tahi would go bananas and often his friends would ask to go home after 2 hours of being completely overwhelmed by my delightfully excitable and controlling little Labrador Pup. I have even on occasion asked friends over to help by watching my younger boys so I had the space to try to help Tahi and his friend through the ordeal that common folk call a ‘Playdate’. Nevertheless, today is a new day , so why not let the lad have a sleepover to celebrate his eighth year of general carnage .EGAD!!!!!
I began my day by partaking in a somewhat irrelevant frenzy of insisting that my house was clean from top to bottom. Why, is beyond me. How many 8-year-old boys do you know , notice if you’ve dusted or cleaned your pantry? Every time I told Tahi that I was FAR too busy doing things like cleaning the skirting boards to help him put on his zombie make up ( Seriously.what’s the point of being a gut ripping brain lusting zombie if you have dusty skirting boards??!!) he would assure me that his friends didn’t care what the house was like and could I just tell him how many more minutes until his party. Eventually the cake was made., dinner was prepared and the sleeping arrangements were organised. I braced.Tahi invited 2 friends. One is also called Tahi. So they call mine Tahi M and the other is Tahi P. These guys are like peas and carrots. They could both talk the leg off a table and together, are harmless mischief. Tahi P is an articulate wee chap and is very good with my Tahi. He sets boundaries well and shows a lot of patience with him. I am very grateful for his friendship with my beautiful boy. Chopper from the miniball team was also invited. A nice little kid. Little is the operative word. A little fella with a rat’s tail and thick little glasses that cover half of his gorgeous little face. A quieter kid who I suspect, much like my boy, is on the social outskirts. Is tolerated by many and liked by few.
The boys settled in together well. They would try to establish who was the alpha male by seeing who could make the funniest joke about bum cracks or do the loudest fart noise. Whenever my Tahi thought he was loosing his grip on complete domination he would play the “It’s MY birthday party and you’ll do what I say” card. Usually resulting in one of the other lads coming out to tell on him. Mostly I would tell them to use their words and sort it out themselves. However, when he started getting tooo domineering,I would go into the room and say something thought-provoking and inspiring like ” Tahi it sounds like you’re being a bit of an egg.Nobody wants to be the pork chop at a jewish wedding,mate.” This would just bite me on the ass by resulting in 3 boys asking me why the pork chop went to the jewish wedding and what did it wear and why didn’t it want to be the pork chop and why didn’t Jews eat pork and what was a Jew and who was God and why didn’t I believe in him cos their parents did so who was right and who was wrong and what was the meaning of life and why does Kryptonite make Superman weak and can we have birthday cake now???
The inevitable exclusion of the younger brothers also occurred frequently. Rua and Toru camped outside their older brothers bedroom screaming and banging on the door whilst the older boys giggled and taunted them from the other side. Upon each attempt at removing the younger boys from their protest camp I would be beaten by a flurry of angry fists, feet and squeals. Clearly the temptation of sweet sweet rejection by the older boys proved to be too irresistible to turn their desperate little backs on. In time I gave in and provided them with snacks,protest banners, a megaphone and a potty so they could settle in at the 2% protest camp for the night.
Eventually it was time for PJ’s and DVD time. The boys chose ‘Transformers 3’. We settled onto our couches with blankets and lollies and proceeded to watch the film. Now I have never really watched a movie with a whole lot of 8 yr old boys. Apparently I still haven’t. Cos they just TALKED the WHOLE.WAY.THROUGH. My Tahi is the guy that asks what is happening every 3 minutes. Chopper is the kid that talks about how his older brother has seen that movie 17 times and Tahi P is the kid that has seen it 18 times. They all argued over who was who. “I’m Bumble Bee!” “I’m Optimus Prime” “I’m Mega Stomper!!” ” No I am !!” I would contribute by yelling things like ” I’m Buzz Light Year!!” They would look at me like I was stupidest human on earth and patiently inform me that I had the wrong movie and I was not allowed to be him. So, much to Tahi’s embarrassment, I chose to be some guys eyebrow instead. They were happy to settle for that. After what seemed like a lifetime of Giant machines with completely inappropriate voices( seriously…what were they thinking? Why didn’t they go the whole hog and cast Woody Allen, Michael Jackson and Melanie Griffith as the voices of the main Transformers) the movie finally finished. So at 10pm my group of little boys crawled into bed. My first ever sleepover done and dusted. Pffft. Whatever. It was just getting started.
The boys predictably giggled and banged and argued and giggled until stupid’o’clock. After going in several times to tell them to settle down or I was gonna bring out a can of Whoopass which would be followed by a barrage of questions as to what exactly was a can of whoopass and does it hurt and can they see it and where can they get one from and why can’t Batman fly cos he is a superhero who is like a Bat and Bats can fly, I eventually moved my Tahi into the spare room. He went to sleep instantly. The other 2 however did not. Chopper was terrified of the dark and needed to rearrange the sleeping the quarters so he could be closer to Tahi P. Tahi P was happy to oblige and decided then would be a good time to reorganise his things into a neat and orderly fashion next to his bed. Once I got the boys settled into their sleeping bags and lights out , I took myself off to bed. 10 minutes later Tahi P was at my bedside telling me his bottom teeth were a bit sore and slightly wobbly and he was worried because they were his adult teeth and should he ring his Dad to make sure his teeth were OK? I assured him that his teeth were fine and they were probably sore cos they were tired , had eaten too much sugar and had just endured 17 hours of inappropriate voice casting by mainstream Hollywood. Once he was satisfied I might be on to something he stood by my bed relentlessly telling me what I can only assume were band camp stories or some such yolk. I was too tired to even comprehend what this delightful child was babbling at me whilst the rest of the house slept.At one point I was seeing double , hearing Charlie Browns teacher and having LSD flashbacks due to his endless talking. I’m not sure how I found the strength, but I managed to get my wits about me and get him off to bed. He too was soon faaast asleep.
Peace at last.
Now reading back over what I have written , it sounds like the sleepover went smoothly. Well let me assure you it did not. There were tears, tantrums, punch ups, threats, Diva behaviour,exclusions, break downs, squealing, yelling, banging ,crashing,bullying, throwing, kicking, stealing,teasing, and much much more. And let it be known…it wasn’t just ME behaving this way. Tahi M was TWICE as bad!!!
After the boys left this morning Tahi and I sat down quietly and reflected on the events of the past few hours. I asked him if he thought his behaviour had been Ok. He agreed that he had misbehaved terribly and had been mean to his friends. I asked him if he could understand how I might be hesitant to let him have another sleepover in the near future. He said he could understand . To which we sat quietly and ate our pieces of leftover birthday cake together in the morning sun. After some time he piped up and said optimistically ” Mama….maybe ….if we start the medication for my ADHD ….we could try again then?!”
“Yeah buddy, That’s a good idea…maybe we could try again then. Maybe indeed”
Yesterday Tahi was diagnosed with ADHD. Yep. Gotta say…..no surprises there. No sir-ee. My little guy is a FIRECRACKER!!!! When he was in utero I had a midwife tell me I was gonna need “a big backyard for this one”. SHE WAS NOT KIDDING.! He was born 10 weeks early. Again….no surprises there. He was such a busy little baby. His plunket nurse to this day says that in all her 30 odd years of dealing with babies , she has never seen a baby that moved as much as Tahi. The only time he is EVER still, is when he is asleep. He talks a mile a minute if you let him. And even when you don’t. He gets distracted by his own shadow. He wanders around the lounge constantly whilst watching a movie. He is always fidgeting and making noise. He is loud. Has huge emotional outbursts and seems to have no real control of himself. It’s like living with an excitable Labrador puppy who’s got a bad cocaine habit. He is completely at the mercy of his impulses. Sometimes it can be very entertaining. Sometimes it can be dangerous. Especially for his little brothers. And sometimes it is just plain heartbreaking to watch your sensitive and loving child be so often misunderstood and so unable to interact with ease in the big bad world. To watch the best part of your genetics struggling to focus their genius at school. Before I met my son, I had no real clue as to what ADHD was like. It is E.X.H.A.U.S.T.I.N.G. R.E.L.E.N.T.L.E.S.S. O.V.E.R.W.H.E.L.M.I.N.G and very very very TRYING. And not just for him or me. His brothers too, have to live with it. Learn to manage him. And also learn to understand that the way their big brother behaves is NOT always how they should behave. How do you explain to a 4-year-old that his older brother is hardwired differently ? That what is good for the Goose, is not always good for the Gander.It is a constant juggle of time,management and energy.
I live in a town that believes the worlds problems can be fixed if we all just hugged one another, dreaded each others hair , danced around a Totara tree and then bathed in sea of Kawakawa and Patchouli. To be honest I would agree that we would have more chance at achieving world peace by doing this than shooting eachother….That is a whole other blog though.An I’m fairly confident that Rosehip and hugs won’t fix this. My point is…in this town……medicating your child for ADHD is a disgrace and a crime worse than eating McDonalds. Your child doesn’t need medication!! Your child needs more attention!!!! Well tell that to his brothers who are already fighting over the scraps of their solo mothers exhausted love and time that Tahi has not yet already consumed in his frenzy of just being.
I have heard horror stories about medication. “They were like a Zombie” ” It just wasn’t him any more. He was gone” ” You can’t medicate him for just being him! Why don’t you medicate yourself? See how YOU like it?!!” ” He just needs more time with YOU!!” I am finding it really hard to glean some good information about it all. The pro websites are really pro. The Con websites are really anti. Both parties have great arguments. It’s confusing. I so want the best for my boy. I want for him to make good friendships instead of being the kid that gets avoided unless the other cool kids aren’t at school that day. To not get growled at by his peers for always disrupting the class. To not be a thorn in the side of his teachers.To have a fighting chance at doing well in school and seeing it through.He is SUPER intelligent. Both me and his Father could be doing a lot better in life than we are, if we had made different choices. God if I’d only listened to the adults that used to tell me to “Say no to drugs and STAY IN SCHOOL!
Over the years I have heard a lot of strong opinions on this controversial topic. They all seem to be people who know someone who knows someone. I don’t want to hear from them. I don’t want opinions from people who have no REAL day-to-day experience with ADHD.I want to hear from people who have been diagnosed with it. Or people who have had to make choices for someone in their care with it. I want first hand experiences. I want the to hear the wisdom of hindsight. I want to do the right thing for my boy. So do tell me…….. How was it for YOU.? Please share this with people who may give me some insight. I need to have as much real information as I can so I can make an informed decision for one of the greatest loves in my life.