Wow...the last two weeks since I posted just kinda flew by, right? And there was gonna be jewelry, too. Really, I swear there was.
But then, life happened.
And then sickness happened.
And I learned that life + sickness cancels out jewelry and writing and pretty much anything creative.
I'll just mention now that this may end up being a long-ish and possibly emotional post, so if you're not down with that...well, you were warned.
If you've been reading the blog a while, you know I've been dealing with teacher issues at my son's school since last year as well as facing ADD testing/diagnosis for him.
On the up side, after last year's total debacle, we seem to have a phenomenal teacher this year. She's creative, organized and engaged. She has been patient with me e-mailing her (probably a little too much) and, amazingly enough, she E-MAILS ME BACK!
The down side is that I had Ryan tested last Spring and the results came back showing positive correlation for the inattentive type of ADD. I'll be honest and say I've struggled with that knowledge ever since. It's not that I don't believe in the diagnosis, it's that I find it so difficult to accept that my sweet, wonderful, bright boy is going to have to struggle with this issue all the way through school and beyond.
And yeah, I'm also struggling with other people's reactions to hearing about it. If I have one more person tell me it's my fault for letting him watch too much TV, I may not be responsible for my actions.
Once I got over the news about it, the question became "okay, what do we do now?" I met with the principal at his school at the end of the year last year and got the school to agree that Ryan qualifies for what's called "504 status" which means he gets some special accommodations like getting to sit up front, getting extra time for homework, etc. I also laid down the law about how I expected a better teacher assignment for him this year.
Given that his grades and test scores are all okay (basically B's and scoring at or above grade level in almost everything), I wanted to see how he'd do with a better teacher this year in 3rd grade so that's where things left off at the end of last year.
Now we're almost two months into 3rd grade and I'm starting to see the damage that the crappy teacher from last year did. Ryan is struggling with staying on task in the classroom both from the amount of work and the amount of self-organization and self-direction that is required (neither of which did he have to keep up with last year). He continues to do well on his tests, but he is coming home with piles of incomplete classwork each night that we are having to do ON TOP OF the actual homework.
Now, I would like to say that I am super-mom and can manage a full day of work, pick up the kid, cook dinner, get him through all his classwork AND homework, get the kitchen cleaned up, get the toys picked up, get the shower done, and get through the bedtime routine all with a Donna Reid smile on my face.
And some nights, I can.
But most of the time, I arrive home from work already exhausted, wanting to only provide dinner that we picked up in a drive-thru. I am certainly not in the mood to repeat 3rd grade math and grammar exercises with patience and a smile. I used to be able to leave Ryan at the table working on his homework while I relaxed for a few minutes or got dinner started, but he's reached the level where his inattentiveness does not allow him to stay on task without me at his elbow prompting him to keep going. And I am starting to picture myself glued to his side to get ANYTHING done for the entire rest of his school career - obviously, that's just not practical nor is it good for his ongoing growth.
A new wrinkle is developing in that he is starting to get frustrated with the amount of work, how hard it is for him to push all the way through it and, frankly, how sick he is of me preaching at him about "getting it done." I don't blame him - I'm sick of me, too. But this frustration he has is starting to boil over in some attitude and defiance that he NEVER had before. He's ALWAYS been my super-cheerful, sweet kid. His most frequently uttered phrase (until recently) has been "Sure, Mom."
Obviously, what we've been doing up to this point is no longer working. I need help. So, I tried setting up appointments with the ADD specialists that his testing doctor referred us to. Guess what? NONE of them are in my health care network and my current plan has NO out of network option. So, I was just forced to switch to a plan that costs 3X as much for the whole next year so that I can get to some of these doctors.
Did I mention that Ryan's dad pays $0 child support and $0 towards his health care (or activities or anything else for that matter). Did I also mention that due to the economy there've been no (or drastically reduced) bonuses and no raises or promotions at my job for the last 3 years?
So, yeah, that was a painful decision, but obviously, I need to get him seen by the right people even if it means waving bye bye to the last of my savings.
In the meantime, I've been reading as many books and websites on ADD as I can get my hands on and I've learned a couple of things:
1. It's not my fault. It's genetic. And you only have to look at his dad to see where the gene came from. So, I could have let Ryan watch NO TV for the last 8 years and he'd still be this way.
2. The experts are all saying I have to at least try putting him on medication (probably Ritalin)
3. My logic center is persuaded that's the right next course of action, but my emotions (and certain family members) are torturing me over the idea of putting an 8-year-old on a brain-chemical-altering medication.
All that has led up to several weeks of not sleeping, eating crappy food, and multiple crying jags so I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise when I started to come down with a nasty cold in the middle of last week. I'm getting over it now, but still dealing with a nasty cough.
You feel all uplifted and happy after reading this post, I'm sure. And I do normally try to keep it pretty upbeat around here, but y'know, sometimes the crap just hits the fan and I have to let it out or totally lose my mind (partial mind loss has already occurred, but I'm determined to hold onto the scraps that are left).
Happier times are ahead, I hope. I'm going to move forward with trying the medication with Ryan and hoping that helps both of us along with some counseling (mostly for me so I can learn to deal with the stress better).
That's it for today. I know I'm behind on book reviews and will try to get caught up. Look for one early next week.