After jumping through all of the precautionary hoops, we’re at the threshold of my son’s future. He was diagnosed with ADHD this summer and I was so very reluctant to medicate him. The exhusband’s wife wanted a quick-fix and I was really proud of our pediatrician for standing firm and placing all of those precautionary hoops in the path. We went to an occupational therapist, a psychologist, and he had an EKG. The OT felt like there wasn’t too much she could do for the boy. He’s mostly struggling with inattentive issues and impulse control.
Seriously? Who would ever believe that a son of mine would have impulse control issues? Heh.
The psychologist feels like dual care, medication and therapy, is his best option. I’m really glad to hear that she feels like there are issues unrelated to his ADHD that need addressing, specifically, the stress that he’s under at his dad’s house to be a certain way and perform at top-notch perfection all the time. His dad loves him, don’t get me wrong. But his dad is very much a my-way-or-the-highway kind of person in all areas of his life. Had his affairs not broken up our marriage, this is probably what would have caused a divorce later in the marriage. The boy is old enough that he knows that things are different between our households, but young enough that he doesn’t feel like he can be honest about those differences with his father.
So, the ex and I met with his pediatrician today and got the boy’s prescription. It felt like we were being sentenced. Don’t get me wrong, our pediatrician is incredible. I feel like she really understands where we’re coming from and what our personal limits are and she does an incredible job of meeting us in the middle. But I couldn’t help but feel like, when she handed me that slip of paper that said “Concentra”, that it was just a physical manifestation of a jail-sentence for the next ten or more years.
I know it’s just the beginning… And I know it’s going to be a long journey before we get to a point where he understands WHY he doesn’t seem to have a firm grip on his impulses. But I really hope it isn’t too long. I hate to see how disappointed he gets when he realizes that he just made the wrong choice.
This weekend, we went bowling and he kicked my ass. I still won and, to be fair to me, he had bumpers. But I only outscored my seven year old by twenty points. After bowling, he spotted one of those dreaded claw vending machines in the arcade.
Fuuuuuuuck. I’m not one of those parents that gives their kid $5 in quarters and tells them to go nuts in the arcade after dinner at the pizza joint. We’re poor. And arcade games are expensive. And really, for his generation, it’s stupid. I mean, you want to play games kid? Let’s go home and play on that god damned Wii that you got for your birthday last year!
So there I was… We had a great time bowling and he had really been behaving himself and so, okay. FINE. He broke me.
“Here’s a dollar. Go nuts, kid.”
The machine clinked out four tokens which, on the claw machine, was two turns.
“Alright. So you’ve got enough for two turns. THAT’S IT. And if you don’t win, you’re going to have a great attitude anyway because you got the chance to play, right?”
And he sort of scoffed at me, in the way that only pre-tweens seem to know how to scoff, and declared, “I got it mom.”
So he took a go at it.
First try? Nothing. I wanted to help him but seriously, I can’t win shit on those games.
Second go? Nothing.
And then… It happened. He crossed his arms on his chest so fast that you could hear his little fists, balled up with rage, thump on his bitty ribs.
Downplaying tantrums is one of my strong suits, really. I’ve had a lot of practice. I patted him on the back and headed for the door, “Sorry bud. Maybe next time. Let’s go get some pizza.”
This did not improve his mood. In fact, when we got to the stairs at the entrance to the bowling alley, he sat down, frowned and near-tears, said, “I hate you.”
You… what?! This is the first time my kid has said that to me, guys. I… I just didn’t know what to do with that. I’m sure it’s not the last time. I recall SCREAMING at my mother how much I loathed her and how she didn’t understand me and how mean she was to me and then I’d storm off and SLAM my door, but not before I could hang my head into the hallway and shriek, “I HAAAAAATE YOU!”
What a stupid fucking teenager I was. Sorry, mom.
So we got in the car and talked… Headed to the pizza joint. I reprimanded him for saying those words to me. I made it clear that there are some words that once you say them, it’s almost impossible to take them back. How some words hurt your heart and leave scars, just like when you fall down and skin your knee. He held firm, still angry in the backseat until we pulled up to the pizza joint.
I put the car into park and looked at him through the rear view mirror. His face was soft now and he even had his little eyebrows turned down on the outside edges. Then he BURST into tears and leaped up and hugged my neck from behind, nearly choking me to death. “I don’t hate you momma. I’m so sorry. You’re the best mom ever. I don’t hate you. I love you!”
Sweet Jesus. I wasn’t prepared for this kind of stuff. Under all my fucking layers of crust and tough-girl varnish, I’m a fucking softie. But nothing could prepare me for how fucking mushy and gushy my damn heart felt right then. I thought it might just start dripping through my ribcage and coat my internal organs like candlewax.
All I could do was hug him back and tell him that I knew he loved me. Even when he was angry… And that I loved him no matter what.