I am not sure where to start. I am not sure how to start. I think I need to start back when my gut first told me something was a little different.
Fair warning: this is insanely long. But it needs to be.
Our daughter, is amazing. She is fierce yet loving. She is strong yet empathetic. She is a fighter, a leader, a competitor.
But she can be so stubborn, and rude, and can bounce off the wall before she realizes it was in front of her.
Back when she started preschool….I could tell she had focus issues. She had to constantly be doing things. Her room, her backpack, her life…was so disorganized. She thrived in it. I didnt understand. Things would be thrown around her room and she could find what she was looking for. Help her clean it up…she would fight us and not be able to find anything.
But at 3-4 yrs old….all the behaviors my gut was tingling about…the drs said she was too young and that it was most likely all normal. Ok…so it felt like we were anxiously waiting in an airplane, stuck on the tarmac in 100 degree weather, waiting for the right age to be called.
Enter in her brother, and all of his super powers that were popping up left and right and I just lost focus on our baby girl. At the time..his issues redirected all of my energy. And bc of that…I know I missed crucial time helping our girl figure out what her demons were and finding the tools to help her. I felt guilty for a long time.
Fast forward to Feb. 2016 when her skin picking was just so out of control….I took her to her pedi and practically broke down in tears. He gave us some questionnaires. I answered as truthfully as I possibly could.
And that is when she started anti anxiety meds. But her skin picking still continued. Back to the pedi. Went to see a counselor. We would have really good days. And really bad days. She was creative but angry. She wanted to do everything but couldn’t finish anything. She picked her skin till it bled and left scars.
And then roughly 2 weeks before the end of kindergarten, we discovered she had had a bully the entire school year. But bc she is who she is….she didnt tell anyone. Not her teacher. Not me. Not her TKD masters. It wasnt until another martial artist friend saw what happened and spoke up for her.
And then things started clicking into place faster than I could pull up the memory.
Summer of 2016….I thought we were back on track. She was no longer around her bully. The skin picking slowed down slowly.
Ahhhhh….the rough seas finally calmed. For a minute.
Before 1st grade started, we decided to grow her bangs out. You see, the kids and husband are Native. And hair in the Native culture…is extremely important. So we only cut it to cut off the dead ends…no more. Just what works for our family.
Well sometime during 1st grade….her bangs got long enough to chew on. Ugh. Back to the pedi. We upped her anti anxiety meds and back to a counselor. She traded her skin picking for her hair eating. You couldn’t get her to stop. We tried every trick and theory in the book. And in the end…when she finally did stop…oh wait she still hasn’t.
Moving on to this school year…2nd grade. And its been a disaster. A dumpster fire is what people might say. On the one side, she is such an amazing big sister bc she has really stepped up to help her little bro who also has special super powers. She helps him before and after school and constantly worries about him (no matter how many times we tell her it’s ok to feel that way…but that’s a job for us parents to do).
But…First mid term conference of the year came and we learned just how badly she wasnt listening or focusing. And how hard of a time she was having finishing her work. She has always been a spitfire. She can hold her own in any issue. But her levels of bossing people around, being rude, disrespectful, angry…..went thru the roof. So the teacher and I agreed that she may have ADD or ADHD.
My gut feelings went into overdrive. I could have told you that 4 years ago!!!!
So off to the pedi. And yup…she has ADHD combination. After a lot…A LOT of debate and research and soul seeking…we decided we needed to get her on some sort of med to get her stabilized and down off the edge of life while we researched other natural remedies to help her.
So we started her on meds.
Med #1…I gave up on day 5. She became so violent and angry yet also comatose.
Med #2….ok, we were on the right path. She was focusing a little better but not as good as she could be. She is struggling.
Med#3…we upped the dosage of med #2 and she was finally paying attention, focusing, finishing school work, and she was even being more compliant at home!!!! A peace finally fell in our house.
But….we discovered she had a school bully (another long post for another day). And on top of it all…her skin picking came back, she has been OCDing over her hair at an insane level, she had a hard time sleeping (she used to be our 1 kiddo that needed 12hrs of sleep…or else) and began to eat less and less.
Fast forward to yesterday, and we have come to a decision to take her off the meds. The 1 pro did not outweigh the the 4 cons. Not this time.
Maybe I was in denial how bad she was getting. I defended the meds for so long. But today…..was her first day without meds. I knew it was going to be ugly.
I just didnt realize how ugly it was going to be today. I had recently shifted my focus back to her bro for a while so I could uncover his new issues and get him the help he desperately needs.
On the plus side, people that didnt believe, or never understood, how my child behaved pre-meds….a couple of them have now gained new perspectives. And hopefully a little more empathy, or understanding at the very least, about what we have had to overcome.
And maybe, just maybe…they will realize there really truly is a reason I am so exhausted at the end of the day. Our daughter is facing demons that no 8 year old should have to.
I love our kids to the end of the galaxy and back. They are my universe. I will fight tooth and nail to get them the help they need. But its exhausting. And it hurts so much when I can’t solve their problems with my magic super mom wand.
Hey is that a thing? Where do I sign up for mine? Did it get lost in the mail again?
It adds an added pressure to my plate because my kiddos have super powers that are considered invisible. You cannot see what is inside their heads. You cannot see where the sensory jam is at. You cannot see the neurons that are firing the OCD. You cannot see the multiple tabs open in their brains. You cannot see what they have and therefore people have a much harder time understanding and a much easier time judging decisions made that they have no right in judging.
But it still is a sucker punch to the gut. As a parent…we want our children to be successful. We want them to be happy and making friends. Socializing and having play dates. You want your kid…to be a kid.
I came up with this idea last night to start a mommy daughter journal where I write a question and she writes down her thoughts before she falls asleep and the next day, I will respond and give her another question. We went to the store and she picked out a special journal for us.
She already stays awake after I read them their bedtime stories doing who knows what….not sleeping obviously. She has started learning the guitar and also writing songs. A couple weeks ago I gave her a song journal that she carries everywhere.
My goal is that, bc she worries ALOT but hasn’t been able to verbalize to me what is eating at her….I know words come easier to me if I can write them down. So hopefully…HOPEFULLY…this will open a line of communication where we can help her. Because I will try anything. Well….almost anything.
I just want to help guide her and find her an anchor that will help her thru these rough seas.
Hang in there, sweetie! You just have to keep trying. Know you are doing a super job even though it doesn’t seem so at times. I wish our “littles”(Laurie, Bai, Logan, esp.) could magically get sorted out and, as you say, just be kids! Love you!!