This is anbrave, personal guest post, written by Lisa Kallas at Sugar Loaf Dreamer. (Click here to view her blog.)
February 7, 1993: a date I cannot nor would want to forget. You see, this was the day my second child was born. A handsome blue eyed boy. I now had a perfect pair as he had a sister 22 months older. He looked so much like her it was uncanny. She had been a perfect baby and toddler and now she had a little brother to follow in her footsteps.
When I say perfect she really was as close as you could get. She slept through the night from 5 weeks old, only ever cried when she was hungry or sick and at the point her little brother was born she had never thrown a tantrum, not even a teenie, tiny one. But this was a boy, he would probably be a little different.
When he was taking a little longer to sleep through the night I put it down to he’s just a boy!! Looking back if I had a dollar for every time I uttered those words I would be living on an island somewhere by now!! He was also really fussy, fussy feeding, fussy playing, just damn fussy. Oh well, he’s just a boy, they’re different ….right?
He started to hit his milestones and even though I had read that boys are usually slower than girls he was right on par with his super quick, super smart sister. But something was just …..off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something. By this point he was just over 12 months old…..still not sleeping through the night. His behaviour was becoming a problem. For someone so small he was extremely strong both physically and strong willed. He was tearing apart the house and climbing….even on higher things that his older sister wouldn’t think of. He was physically hurting his big sister. He would get this look in his eyes that even though I loved and adored him…..it scared me too. He would stiffen and his eyes would glaze over; looking back now it was very frightening. Something had to give and my mum who up until then had remained quiet spoke up and agreed there was something not right. She had also noticed that he would rock back and forth at times. At first, being a musical family I just thought he was musical……then I realised that he was doing it whether there was music or not.
So I made an appointment and took him to our family Doctor, at this point he had not long turned 2, but he was causing absolute chaos in the family. My Doctor listened to me, watched him tear his office apart and told me there was nothing wrong with him and I just needed to be a little stricter with him.
So I took him home but certainly not feeling any more comfort than before. My mum suggested I take him to her Doctor as he has 4 sons, surely he would know if there was something wrong? I agreed as I, by this point, was at my wits end. Long story short…..after being observed for 20 minutes I was told this was NOT normal and given a referral for a paediatrician. OK….now what?
So after a 2 month wait we finally had our date with the paediatrician. In the meantime I had been writing copious notes on sleep patterns, behaviours etc. The kindly, older Chinese origin paediatrician read through my notes quietly, at all times also observing my boy without it being obvious. He then re read through the Doctors referral. He then very quietly approached my son and engaged him in a couple of questions before leading him to the bed for some testing. Based on everything he knew from watching, reading and listening he was 90% sure my son had Hyperkenetisis…or in modern terms ADHD. Finally an answer, not one I wanted but at least it meant my boy wasn’t just the naughtiest kid in town. At that point I didn’t really know anything much about it and I certainly didn’t know anything about the Autistic Spectrum..Anyway, we were referred to one of our largest children’s hospitals for an assessment with a Child Behaviour Specialists ,which was a leader in the the field of ADHD. He confirmed the original diagnosis and at that point, being a mum that would do absolutely anything to help her son and her family, I agreed to trial him on some medication.
Medicating your child is a very personal decision and I butted heads with and lost a few friends over my choice but the positive results in him were outstanding. I had my son back, that was my main job as his mum. His improvement over all areas was outstanding….except sleep, we were now 3.5 and had never slept through the night..do you think I was tired? Just a tad!
We started kindy and for the most part fitted it, but something was still not right.
You need to remember I didn’t own a computer, let alone know what Google was, so all and any information I could gather came from pamphlets the Doctors would give me and books.
We went on a family holiday to America, my parents, my children and myself. I would go into every book store I saw and would come out with a new book. I remember my dad saying to me why do you keep buying another book? My hope was that there may be just a snippet of information in one that was different to the others that I could learn from.the medication on its own was not enough, there was more and I needed to fix it…..I was his mum and his advocate that was my job. My dad joked to one of his specialists that I had more books on the subject than he did, he said maybe I could lend them some. You see I would take both or one of my parents to every Doctors appointment with us as I was always given so much information, I couldn’t always remember it myself. So between us it was like putting the pieces of a jigsaw together every time we went home.
Through all of this and his increasing doses of medication something just wasn’t right. He would metabolise his meds very fast so we would have to split them as doses every couple of hours to sustain him instead of just morning and afternoon.
He was becoming angry and violent , still not sleeping, extremely fussy with his eating…..when he started primary school he was restless, and sad as it is for me to say still after all these years he was bullied terribly due to the fact he was different. Not just because he was different though, because the parents of the other kids were so damn ignorant! I’m not sure how ADHD is, or was portrayed in the media in other countries, but here in Australia these kids were almost shown to be the devil incarnate. They would only show the worst of the worst in behaviour and this in turn frightened people, in believing that they were demented and dangerous. Unfortunately like most behaviour disorders ADHD has a spectrum that runs from the mildly dreamy ADD child ( without hyperactivity) to ,yes, the very destructive, angry and malicious ADHD child. However this usually is because other co morbid conditions run with the worst of the worst.
Children learn what their parents teach them and all I am going to say is there were some horrible, uneducated parents out there at the time. The bullying continued for my son right through school from the age of 6 through to 16….10 years of hell. No wonder he came to me and begged to leave when he did…….of course I said yes, it was still my job to be his advocate and protector and at the the age he is now, which is 24…..I still am.
I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get an extra free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.