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This Year Will be Different

Guest Post week roars on…and so does my marathon streak of work. I want this convention gone so that I can have time to write. I want this convention gone so my knees won’t hurt so badly. Enough whining. Part of today’s Guest Post Week roar comes from Kim, who writes her own blog, and co-writes another with today’s second author.  See what I did there? They write together so I put them up together on the same day. Bam.

DISCLOSURE:  The following is what works for my family, and what we have accepted only after thorough discussion with professionals.  I’m not a bit concerned about what somebody in Indiana or Alberta thinks about this topic.  Of course, everyone is welcome to comment but I am not looking to be lectured and if I feel I am, I will simply skip over your comment, leaving you with your right to free speech and me with my right to tune it out.

I’m writing this at least a week before you are reading it.  I have just returned home from Noah’s 7th grade orientation.  It’s not like last year where he needed to learn all about the school.  This year was just registering his locks to make sure they are the same, turning in his new emergency card and getting his schedule and locker spot.  All went smoothly until I said the wrong thing ‘very loudly’ to a friend right in front of her son, a friend of Noah’s since kindergarten.  Oh the lecture I got.  I forgot that moms of teens have to stick to the basics: How’s the weather, how’s the family, whatcha been doin’, see you at the next get-together (where we can talk while the kids are somewhere else and get down to the nitty gritty).

Noah’s been pretty chill all summer.  He’s been utilizing his allotted computer and iTouch time, fighting against his required reading time and getting in some TV time.  He’s seen some friends, did a lot of swimming and a little beaching, gone a few places and basically he’s been really easy to have around.  He’s not talking nonstop or bouncing off the walls and his focus seems great when it needs to be.

I actually considered keeping him off his meds when he starts school.  He’s been off meds all summer and has done fantastic!  Maybe he’s cured!  Let’s just try!  Then I was reminded that it’s not just Noah alone whois hyperactive.  His ADHD is sparked by specific situations, such as being surrounded by 29 other kids, not all sitting still, not all being quiet, faculty and students walking by outside, the sound of pens on paper and a teacher trying to explain a concept.  TRIGGER.

When I left orientation today, after watching my son greet his friends, both girls (with hugs) and boys (head nod, “what’s up?”), I remembered that these are his distractions.  These are the kids he’s “disturbing” in class as per the email or note that goes home weeks into school.  We start every year with all the right intentions:  He’s going to stay focused.  He’s not going to worry about what anybody else is saying or doing.  He’s going to wait until after class to talk.  He’s going to remain seated and do whatever it is across the room he needs to do when class has ended.  He’s going to sit at the table with me and talk me through his homework so I know he’s doing it right.  He’s going to stay organized.

And he’s going to stay on his medication, though I myself will never again mention medication of any type to any friend as per his lecture.

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16 Comments on “This Year Will be Different”

  1. omawarisan says:

    Did you know that the what’s up head nod is in our dna? It comes with the Y chromosome.

    Things get much better in high school.

    • kimpugliano says:

      I’ve never seen him do that before. I would have laughed but that probably would have made him mad. I have high hopes that high school WILL be different. If we could just get there…

  2. The meds would be such a tough call, especially when seeing them do so well without it. But you’re right. Kids don’t necessarily need meds in the summertime when there are fewer demands and distractions, while the school year requires actual focus.

    Hope he’s speaking to you again soon! I embarrassed my teen this weekend, too. You can come hang out in the doghouse with me.

    • kimpugliano says:

      I actually asked him on day 2 what he thought about the meds and he confirmed that he definitely needed them. That’s the thing – he doesn’t fight me. He agrees that he has better impulse control with the meds. He’s speaking with me again now, but I’m sure I’ll call you soon. Thanks.

  3. I also don’t know how things go in your state, but may I every-so-gently suggest, because I’m fond of you and adore Noah and his smile that lights up the Internet, that if you ever do decide to take him off his meds before sending him back to school, please do let the teachers know.

    Most teachers are glad to work with you and also want what’s best in Noah’s interest. They’re on the front lines and they’ll be more prepared to give you feedback on how it’s going if they know that’s part of the equation.

    I said this over where the G is silent, but it’s worth repeating: have a great year, Noah (and Kim!).

    • kimpugliano says:

      That’s really good advice and I do in fact keep in very close contact with his teachers to let them know if he is going up or down (he hasn’t gone down but you never know!), asking for feedback. In fact, I’ll be emailing them in a week or so just to touch base and see how he’s doing and ask them to keep me abreast of any changes in his behavior. Thanks for your support EVERYWHERE Hippie!!

  4. Blogdramedy says:

    This post is so thoughtful I can’t imagine what you could possibly say to garner a “lecture.” But I forget…sometimes just standing there does it. :)

    Hope you two have a terrific year!

    • kimpugliano says:

      So many people comment lecture and lecture me in real life I just don’t listen anymore. I’m 41 for heaven’s sake. And as for the terrific year, I have a good feeling.

  5. I know what you mean about the medication thing – there is the same thing among autism parents — do you or don’t you. My son with autism takes meds and my theory is when the issue gets in the way of doing what HE wants to do and the meds help him do that, with minimal side effects, then meds are a good thing. On the other hand, I have ADHD and cannot tolerate the side effects of stimulant medication at all (and they just don’t make me more focused). So I developed a lot of little tricks and strategies that work for me, such as breaks, making lists, and getting plenty of time outside. I remember high school was difficult at times, but I wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. I’m not sure we even “had” ADHD back then :) I did not notice that I was that more different, other than having the moniker “space cadet” which didn’t seem to annoy people all that much. Everyone is “something” in high school. A teacher here or there gave me a hard time, but who doesn’t get a hard time in high school? Anyway, there are some benefits to ADHD, such as my ability to hyperfocus when I want to, which can be really useful and rewarding in my work, and also being just “observant” about everything. Personally, I do not see my ADHD as a disorder, or even as that much of a problem. Maybe for some people, it really gets in the way of their lives, and I’m glad medication helps some. For the rest of us, I suppose we learn how to compensate for it over time, or they choose jobs that are ADHD-friendly. And you have to realize how incredibly different school is from real life, where you are expected to sit THAT much :), to go from class to class, and manage all those different subjects. Imagine having 7 notebooks for your day to day life now, it would seem cumbersome, wouldn’t it? In most people’s working lives, you don’t have THAT many transitions and you aren’t expected to tackle that many subjects each day. Nothing in my life has been as difficult as high school and college and very little of what I learned in high school or college classes turned out to be things I needed for life :) or even remember now. What I did extra-curricular-ly was. I was not a good math student, for example. I failed algebra 2 twice. My sister sat in class with me the third round and understood how I “thought” and helped me immensely. But I WAS a terrific actress and I got many paying roles as a teen. That was my strength and I had an outlet for it, and it contributed to my self-esteem. I think it’s so important to not to inadvertently communicate that ADHD could be limiting in any way that is important to a person, and maybe accept that it is a part, maybe sometimes even a desirable part, of who the person is, and maybe focus on those strengths. That was important to me at that age. We all have some thing that gets in our way sometimes. Those kids that don’t have ADHD at school have something else. But a label can get in the way as much as it can help. For a long time I thought I would be a poor driver so I put off getting my license until my 30s. But I turned out to be an excellent and careful driver. I had just let that “distractible” label get in my way too much. Anyway, I hope your son has an excellent year, and you too :)

    • kimpugliano says:

      How funny, I too have ADHD and a bunch of other letters and words, and I don’t think I could handle a stimulant at all. I function also by making a list and having a routine and getting my exercise and taking my breaks. The two of us are both very artistic inasmuch as the theater goes. He would shine on stage. He wants to be a famous actor. I don’t like to label either one of us, but sometimes it just is what it is.

  6. Debbie says:

    Ah, teenagers! Isn’t there enough drama at that age without having to worry about meds, too? Yet I agree with the Hipster — if you do decide to give sans-meds a try, please let Noah’s teacher know. I wouldn’t go back to those middle school years — either for myself or for my son — for anything! Hang in there and know that sometimes the doghouse isn’t a bad place to spend some time!

  7. Anonymous says:

    The most important job we have as parents is to help our children grow to be kind, responsible, independent, productive adults. Not all kids/adults respond the same way to the all the noises and interruptions that are constantly surrounding them. There are many tools available to us to help them traverse kid-dom; we need to find the one that is best for our child. If it is a pill, then so be it! I take one everyday to help me. I never knew how depressed I was until I wasn’t anymore. If a pill a day keeps the glooms or ADHD away then I say “take it!” I definitely wish there had be pills available for the ADHD when you were a kids. And imagine how much better my life would have been if your grandmother could have taken a pill for her manic-ness.

    • kimpugliano says:

      What if it’s 7-8 pills a day? I don’t mean anyone specific…(thanks Grandma for those fantastic genes). WAIT – You noticed hyperactivity and inability to focus when ‘we’ were kids? Which kid? Beth right? You meant Beth. I knew it because I’ve always been so calm, borderlining on comatose.

  8. Betty says:

    I’ve got to think that YOU have the best possible read on what works for him. I respect anyone who chooses to become an educator. But as attentive as they can be, their time is still divided among many, no?


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