I had another post all lined up until I saw these pictures my son took with my Canon EOS. While it’s a pretty-dummy proof digital (I also have the 35mm version), my son apparently doesn’t need the the help. Maybe it’s because I have a hard time overcoming the innate part of me that thinks everything should be squared off while he just puts the camera to his eye and snaps the picture just as he is, just as the subject is. Of course, anything my son can do that doesn’t involve the mind-numbing Nintendo DS or the Wii is genius.
Some days it hits me like a bolt from the blue that we administer a controlled substance daily to my son. A drug that addicts have killed for – have died for. Methylphenidate, the active ingredient in his patch, produces many of the same effects as cocaine or the amphetamines.1
It was one of many reasons we were reluctant to start XBoy on meds in the first place. The side effects, like most drugs, can be frightening and it amazes me that so many kids are on ADHD and ADD drug therapies. I would think many parents would decide against it for fear of those affects.
It’s easy to forget and to take lightly the fact that we keep a dangerous and addictive drug in our home (yes, it is locked up and away from both kids), especially since it’s kept in such an innocuous form like the patch. It’s not injected. It’s not swallowed. It’s just a matter of peeling off the plastic layer and sticking it to his skin. Bu sometimes we are careless. Sometimes I find a tiny triangle of that plastic on the floor. Just the right size, and oh so tempting piece of shiny for ZGirl to pick up and put in her mouth. I don’t know how much residue is on it, but when your doctor and the drug company specifically warn to wash hands after handling, it’s enough to be measurable.
XBoy experiences many of the common side effects from the patch. When we first started the therapy, he was an emotional wreck. For example, he would cry if there were only 3 pickles instead of 4 on his hamburger. His teacher called us in to meet with her after his first week of treatment to discuss how he teary and sad he’d been recently. It was only then that we told her about starting him on the drug as we didn’t want him to have that stigma – just another kid on Ritalin. Keeping it from his teacher allowed us to find out if there was a change in his behavior without anyone suspecting why.
He has since adjusted to the dosage, and while we still find he overreacts on occasion, he’s better. Now my concern has focused from his emotional response to the physical. Last year at this time I was worried about his sudden weight gain between his 6 year check-up and the first time I took him to the ped to discuss his behavior, which was almost 10lbs in six months. The clothes I had bought for school were too tight even before he wore them once. In August I was scrambling to find him uniform-wear in husky. And by the time he was weighed by the school, he was up 14lbs to the grand total of 64lbs. He peaked at 65lbs, which we discovered when he started wrestling and had to weigh in. It was also when he started his meds. That was January.
It is the beginning of June, which means he’s been on the daily patch for a solid four months. The other day he came to me and complained that he now weighed only 58lbs after using our bathroom scale, and frankly, that scares me.
I knew he was losing weight. Pictures from last summer show a round, full face. He sported a bit of a “pot” belly in his swim trunks. He was squeezing on his favorite pair of sweatpants. Now? The belly is gone. His collar and shoulder bones are prominent. He is not gaunt, but thinned out considerably. He’s still in a normal weight range for boys his age and height, but for how long?
In the morning, when he doesn’t want breakfast – “I’m not hungry!” – it takes all my willpower not to say, “If you don’t want to lose any more weight, you’ll need to eat breakfast!” since I can only imagine that since he’s already suffering from a chemical imbalance that produces ADHD, he would be just that much more susceptible to experiencing an eating disorder of some kind or another. So I say nothing, but encourage him to at least drink a glass of milk. Paranoia is my master in parenting decisions, apparently.
It’s not like his eating habits have drastically changed. He definitely doesn’t eat as much, but the kid could really put it away a year ago and of course then I worried that he was eating too much. But I watch more carefully when he takes his plate to the sink with food still on it. I don’t grouse as much when he asks for a treat (a brownie, chips, candy, etc.) because I welcome the chance for him to put calories – even empty ones – into his body.
I worry to the point of going sleepless about what will happen in a year knowing that he will still be on meds. I worry about the future in five years; ten years from now. Many kids “outgrow” ADHD. Will he? What if he doesn’t? What long-term emotional affects will he have from a decade of stimulant use? What about the physical? I’ve had family and friends wave away my concerns like I’m making a big deal of out nothing. “Lots of kids have ADD/ADHD,” they say dismissively. I always find it funny how the ones who tell me this don’t.
For the first time since ZGirl was born last July, I suggested to Mr. DD that we should talk to XBoy about the donor.
Because XBoy is 7 years older, I really feel that it’s important not to wait until ZGirl is two or three before approaching the subject with him. I fear that he may look at the first couple of years with ZGirl with something akin to deception if we wait that long. Maybe in not such a definitive manner, but later when he’s reached teen and adult age, he may use it as an excuse or a way of lashing out.
I also know that his exposure to peers in school will introduce him to the concept of sex before I’m ready to deal with it myself, and I just think it would be more prudent for him to know that sex is more than dirty talk between a group of boys and a way of teasing girls (I didn’t tell you how XBoy came home the other day from school and asked me what “gay” meant. Of course I tried to explain it means happy, but he knew that the way the kids were using it, it was derogatory and clearly they were not calling him “happy”.).
Mr. DD doesn’t think telling XBoy about ZGirl’s conception is a good idea. He worries that XBoy will run his mouth about it to both friends and family. While I don’t care so much about his friends, since who’s going to give much thought to a 6 or 7 year old trying to repeat something another 7 year old told them, especially about “eggs” and “embryos” and “donor gametes”? However, I am concerned about this information becoming family table fodder.
I believe that as long as we don’t make a big deal, (It’s a secret! Don’t tell anyone!!), or that the information is a topic of contraband, and that we keep it very, very simple, XBoy should walk away from the discussion as if we had just told him that we were going to repaint the living room.
For me, that means keeping the birds and bees out of the conversation as much as possible. Instead I thought I would just use the approach that women have eggs that can become babies but sometimes those eggs are bad. In those rare cases, couples can sometimes use the eggs of other women to make babies…and that’s what we did in ZGirl’s case. Is that a too simplistic way of broaching the subject of donor eggs for the first time with a 7 year old? Of course we would welcome the questions as they are asked. I just feel, and maybe I’m wrong about it, that this is something that should be trickled in for assimilation and not dumped.
Other questions for you: Do you think I should wait until ZGirl hears it first? Do you think Mr. DD might be on to something as to XBoy spilling the beans prematurely to family (BTW, I’ve intentionally started planning this to coincide with the summer break)? Am I providing a disservice to my son and taking the chickenshit way out by not talking about intercourse and ovaries and gonads and penises and vaginas and sperm (oh, my!)?
It was not a weekend where I was served waffles with strawberries and whipcream along with a venti cup of mocha with a splash of raspberry nor did we venture out once refreshed from a 10 hour snooze to a brunch replete with mimosas. Nor did I wake to find that my son had skipped out to the lilac bushes and plucked fragrant blooms to arrange in childish innocence and flair in one of my colorful copper glasses for the table.
Oh, no. Mother’s Day was heralded in when, while sitting at the counter snarfing up my egg and bacon sandwich and noting that my son had already christianed the spot as I stuck my hand in a cold dollop of yellow egg right after I stepped on an errant cheerio, Mr. DD handed over one of these as if he was presenting the crown jewels on a plush velvet pillow:
Nothing says “thanks for bearing bearing the fruit of my loins” like a sawzall.
He obviously did not recall the email exchange that turned into this post on how to make a body disappear.
I can also assure you, it wasn’t because we are into experimental sexual adventures (SFW but it will make you wish it wasn’t).
Nope. It’s because I am the resident groundskeeper (I prefer Garden Goddess, thank you), and we live on an acreage where the only “native” trees are either Cedar Weeds Trees or Russian Olives.
Lord, are they ever ugly.
Yep, they pretty much look like this:
So in an attempt to take some eyesores and turn them into landscaping points of interest (rather than yank them out one by one for the rest of our natural lives), I will be attempting to creatively prune them. A chainsaw would be a bit much, both for the branches which are no more than 7″ around and for me, with my puny, yet flappable, wussy-girl arms.
If I happen to accidentally take off any limbs NOT belonging to a tree, you’ll be one of the first to know.
Also, I can’t say my son totally blew me off on Mother’s Day. In fact his class worked on a little book that the teacher provided the first half of a sentence as an impetus to the least imaginative-challenged beings on the face of the earth with such openers as, “My Mom is the prettiest when…” or “I like it when my Mom…”, except my adoring son left all of the pages blank. Not one had a completed sentence, so I was justifiably bummed. However, what I did get a chuckle from was on the cover page, he had written Happy Mother’s Day.
Why did that bring a smile to my face? Well, since XBoy is occasionally reversing his letters, I got this instead:
Haggy Mother’s Day? A Freudian slip from a seven year old? It very well could be.
Said last night by XBoy while I was tucking him in:
ZGirl makes me happy.
I can now die happy, but I hope I don’t (just in case you’re listening, karma).
I’ve mentioned before how Mr. DD can be a real asshole when it comes to what I loosely term as “parenting” XBoy. Before I rant about it, I will say that most of the time he’s great. It’s just when he’s not, he’s really not.
This morning? Mr. DD hit one of his low points.
XBoy has a hard time in the mornings. It’s not because he’s still tired or sleepy. He just can’t seem to focus on what’s important, which is to wash up, get dressed in his school uniform, and let Dad know what he wants for breakfast (I’m usually getting ready for work and dealing with ZGirl, but I have to overhear the inevitable arguments). It’s not unusual to find XBoy in is room half-dressed and playing with something instead of taking to task. We understand that he’s 7. We understand that his room is full of tempting toys. We understand ADHD. We understand that it can take up to an hour for his meds to take hold. But it tries our patience to the limit since this is something we have dealt with every.damn.school.day for the last three years. It infuriates Mr. DD. Granted; it pisses me off, too.
On this day, XBoy was looking for some money he was given by Mr. DD’s hobby group members for helping them out at the track. He wanted to bring the money to school and buy something at the book fair. Mr. DD had picked it up off the floor last night after XBoy had went to bed, and was peeved at his carelessness and instead of giving the money back to XBoy when he asked where it was, he simply told him that he might get it later, after XBoy had gotten dressed and had breakfast.
Unfortunately, XBoy got upset. He started to cry. And whine. Two things most hated by Mr. DD. He told XBoy to “dry up” and then he did something I’ve never heard him do to XBoy: he started to mock XBoy by mimicking him. Even when Mr. DD is being a total prick to XBoy, I try not to intervene openly. Instead I’ll glare at him or give him the finger across the throat sign for “That’s enough!” without XBoy’s notice. If crying and whining are the sparks to Mr. DD’s anger, me undermining him in front of XBoy is fuel.
I was in the bedroom during this most recent exchange so I could only listen and feel my own face burn in embarrassment and anger on my son’s behalf. After things settled down, I called Mr. DD into the bedroom under the guise of needing help with something. When he came in, I had him follow me into the master bath where I proceeded to rip him a new one.
“Did your parents mock you like that?!”
“Hell, yes!” he responded as if that an everyday occurrence with him (and knowing his parents like I do, it probably was).
“Then that’s YOUR problem. Don’t make it XBoy’s. He’s already got issues with you as it is (hinting at the comments XBoy made about his dad in counseling). Stop comparing him to his classmates (he was doing this after XBoy’s poor behavior in church, “Soandso was saying the Lord’s Prayer! Soandso was sitting still! Why can’t you? Etc. etc. blah blah blah.”) He’s not Soandso. He’s Xboy! How would you like it if I said, ‘This Boyfriend did this for me,’ or ‘That Boyfriend did that for me,’ when you’re being a total Fuck to me, huh?”
“You mean, why don’t I beat you like That Boyfriend did?” he replied.
Oh, yes. He did.
And yes, I did have a boyfriend who I would have to call abusive. If I had stayed with him after he slapped me – once – in anger. But when that happened, I packed my shit out of his apartment and was gone before the end of the day. And completely irrelevant to anything but purely a knee JERK (can I say “literally” here or that pretty much implied?) response from him!
After he walked back out, I thought of several things I could have said to make matters worse (like, “Was your Mom sober when she verbally abused you??”), but I bit it all back. Move on, I told myself. But I’m pretty angry about it because we’ve had these kinds of discussions before. XBoy doesn’t take criticism well (who does?) and we are impatient parents to a child that needs infinite patience.
It’s a total sonofabitch to want so badly for your child to mature into a responsible, caring adult if the adults raising the child can be sonsofbitches. It’s a volatile mix.
The male residents of my home are both out of commission. Some call it the ‘flu, but because that’s completely erroneous. I call it gastroenteritis.
I’m touchy about it right now because 1) I am fucking exhausted. Up several hours last night holding my son’s head out of bucket and trying to remain caring and strong while freaking out that he was going to puke on the carpet; 2) I mentioned it to my family and I should have known better as soon as the words were out of my mouth as my Dad immediately concluded they both have the swine flu; and finally 3) my hands are so raw from repeated handwashing that I described them in a tweet as feeling as if I could feel each hair follicle pulse from the tightness.
With all the world-wide hype going on, you’d THINK that they would make sure to report that the swine flu does NOT bring on vomiting and diarrhea. Influenza – aka The Flu – is an upper respiratory ailment. Are you hacking up a lung? Are you having difficulty breathing? Are you so congested that when you blow your nose snot comes out of your eyes? Then you probably have the flu, NOT a GI – congratulations.
Are we clear? Good.
You know I’m next, right? And poor ZGirl…it’ll take a miracle for her not to get it as well and since it’s not the 24 hour variety (the gastroenteritis), I see a hospital visit in my near future.