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Archive for January, 2010

Uncertainty and guilt

I think the hardest part of parenting is the doubt? I am doing, saying or even thinking the ‘right’ things? There are so many times in life where you are uncertain for yourself and that is daunting enough, but when it is something involving your child that you are uncertain about – Well, that is a whole different ballgame.

I had a brief discussion with a very dear friend yesterday. Her little guy is really trying to assert his independence and in the process, pushing Mommy’s buttons to their limits. She, like all moms, is in a nutshell exhausted by the drains of everyday life. I feel for her. I can relate to her. I keep trying to reassure her that he will not be at the top of a bell tower picking people off with a sniper rifle because she was just too tired to ‘deal’ with his shenanigans at bedtime. However, I know she feels guilty. As moms – don’t we all?

I feel guilty. All the time. I don’t know if it is a mom thing or a Catholic thing or a me thing, but even in situations where I know it is so completely beyond my control, I still end up feeling guilty. (I know I told you before…I have issues.) Right now, my guilt and uncertainty revolve around EE and school. He is such a smart kid – brilliant, yet he is struggling…

We had our big meeting yesterday. Some issues resolved – some not. We did the best we could, but yet, I still feel defeated. Maybe it is the nature of these crazy meetings? There I sat (DH was on conference call) and there were 7 other people in the room – all staring at me. They call themselves a team. Oh yeah, they were. Don’t misunderstand. They were perfectly nice to me as they listened and offered up suggestions. I do think that every one of those people were genuinely concerned for the students they serve.  However, I get the nagging sensation that they were all sitting there thinking one of two things or perhaps both – “Why is she wasting our time?” Or “Is this chick nuts?” They read through EE’s school record and scores. As a parent you can’t help but be proud of your child as people are extolling how magnificent his performance is, but what is not written in those reports is the time and effort that it requires of my son. Or the emotional toll this is taking on him.  We tried our best to convey that. They did concede that they can make some modifications like extra time, being able to use a ‘marker’ to keep his place, help with organization, etc. We are grateful for that. We were summarily told that he has no relevant educational disability and there is no way that he is 2e. (I wasn’t going to argue, but I wanted to yell – “Can you at least be open minded enough to stop for a moment and consider the possibility?* But I digress.) So why do I feel so lousy? The whole thing was very intimidating and I do not intimidate easily. Was it perhaps the gang mentality? Was it the fact that I felt guilty for ‘wasting’ their time? Was it because I feel I failed my son because I feel I did not clearly articulate his needs? Or do I simply feel bad because I think that they think I am an absolute crazy person? (And yes, I know I shouldn’t give a crap what they think, but I am human. And unfortunately, my like my son and husband, I am completely and utterly self-conscious and insecure.) Whatever the case may be, I am still left to wonder if I did my best for my child? There is no answer. There is no absolute way to know…only time will tell if this little exercise was worth the efforts.

All I do know is EE summed it up pretty well this morning – “Mom, we are ALL ready for our vacation and it couldn’t come at a better time!”  Yes…yes indeed! That is one thing that I am very certain about.

So I had better get off this computer – run my errands and pack – because in less than 48 hours we will be ‘outta here’!!!! (Did I mention the water heater is busted??? Here comes the plumber now.)

*I don’t want you to think that I needed him to be labeled anything. That is not what this is about for us. For us, it is about our child struggling. Yes, I know there are kids out there with far worse circumstances. I know there are parents who would beg to trade places with me. I get it. But this isn’t a comparison to anyone else…THIS IS ABOUT MY CHILD and his difficulties. As parents, our hearts are breaking as we watch the Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde routine of his emotions. Lately, he has been more dark than light and it scares the hell out of me.

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I was interviewed today about my children and their “exceptionalities”. It was good and eye-opening for both the interviewer and me (the interviewed). It was good for the interviewer to be able to hear what life with overexcitabilities is like.

The interviewer posed a great statement to me: “You are aware, that there are children and parents out there who have it more rough than you do.” I totally agreed with her and her statement. I am SO appreciative of my exceptional family members (all 3 of them  –  husband included!!) I just was not prepared for them, and in a way neither is school or society.

After agreeing with her statement – I went on to explain that having a gifted child with overexcitabilities becomes a disability for your child when people are not aware of your child’s low area of uneven development. Some children, just be looking at them, make you aware of their abilities or lack there of. Other children travel from one classroom to another with an IEP or 504 – allowing others to view inside – getting a sneak preview of what is in store of what is needed.

I explained that with my son, I can’t tape a post-it to him (or my husband) saying “use caution – “extremely emotional and sensitive.” “Warning – may explain the rotation of the earth to you one minute and 2-year-old melt down the next.”

I can however advocate for him and make those I am close with aware – family, close friends. And in other instances – I watch his emotions and things that I have found that affect his emotions.

Children with higher brain function use more protein. Children with higher brain function usually sleep less (some need less sleep / other like my children – need the sleep, but can not stop their brain from processing to fall asleep). These are things I can help control – My motto – control that which you have control over!!

The interviewer, was in fact, my sister!

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Much of our focus is on our children and hubbies. However, denial is not just a river in Eqypt and I have to own up to my own giftedness from time to time. This week and the emotional roller coaster that I am currently on….IS one of those times. You see I have an emotional overexcitability just like my son and husband do. (Yes…when we all get going…can you imagine it? It is quite a site. Luckily, DH or I can usually hold it together while EE and the other are freaking out.)

This week DH has to hold up his end of the bargain. I am spent. I am tired. I am in a word STRESSED. It is not pretty. I tried primal screams in the car the other night on the way to my 3M meeting. (I’ll let ecemom tell you about the 3M.) However, I found that this was not conducive to safe driving. So instead…I had a nice tall beer. (Hacher Pschorr…YUM! Thank you ecemom for introducing me to the wonderful Bavarian wheat wonder so many years ago on your new patio.) I am not an advocate of drowning your sorrows in alcohol, however, once in a while, I need something to take the edge off and chemical assistance in the form of a sudsy beer is a nice way to do just that.  It worked temporarily and I was able to enjoy my dinner and the supportive conversation that accompanied it. However, the next morning arrived and the warm glow provided by the food, drink and conversation were gone and…

there I sat alone with my thoughts…

For someone with an emotional overexcitability this is not the ideal situation to find yourself in.  It took me sometime to realize this about myself. I figured it out long before I ever read or heard the name Dobrowski. I joke and call myself ‘neurotic’ (What? Okay…so maybe I am.) You see I can handle all the demands and pressure and craziness that my family provides on a daily basis to a point and then I seem to ‘pop’ – kind of like a balloon. I say ‘pop’ because it is not a slow leak of pressure escaping…it is generally a full on explosion of emotion and folks – it ain’t pretty! It usually involves either tears or a total conniption fit…or perhaps both. This particular fit has several origins, but in order to survive these moments of emotional overload that I experience, I have to find something physical and concrete to fix. I need a physical manifestation of what is going on in my head to work through my ‘issues’.  I take on that typically male response – I need to ‘fix’ it. It is my way of dealing. Is it ideal? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is ‘how I roll’.

So after a tearful telephone conversation revolving around the stress of the question, “What’s for dinner?” DH came home and after we consumed our McDonald’s dinner. (I am going to win Mom of the Year.) The last thing he wanted to do was move furniture around, but he did. Without complaint. Then the next day, he assembled 2 new shelves and switched out the chandelier (in what was going to finally be my dining room <insert tears here and a moment of silence>) to a ceiling mounted light and created the new ‘homework’ room. DH did this willingly and without complaint – he is holding up his end of the bargain. He is an amazing husband – whatever quirks he may possess – he is my support system and I love him for it. He ‘gets’ me….which is no easy task. He knows that by ‘organizing’ our home….it will help me to organize my emotions and find a happy place.

So when we say Dobrowski saved our marriages…it is not simply because of our children…the adults play a role in it too.

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http://www.stephanietolan.com/dabrowskis.htm

Psychomotor

This is often thought to mean that the person needs lots of movement and athletic activity, but can also refer to the issue of having trouble smoothing out the mind’s activities for sleeping. Lots of physical energy and movement, fast talking, lots of gestures, sometimes nervous tics.

The above statement is from the website listed above. The item lacking in this definition however is a photo of my daughter. The two are synanomous. The constant motion actually started in utero. Do you know when you are pregnant and about to fall asleep in the last months and little junior starts kicking – most of the time you win. The little in utero bundle of joy finally shifts position – NOT MY DAUGHTER!!! That should have been clue #1 for what I was in store for.

I always joke that my two children are exhausting – but for different reason. SS is mentally exhausting with his emotions; constant quest for knowledge, etc. My daughter (DD) physically exhausts me. When my co-author and dear friend is over she always says that my daughter is exhausting to watch. My husband will often sit on the couch and stare in amazement saying “what if she were a boy? Have you ever seen a girl this active?”

The name for DD in this blog actually came from my co-contributor and dear friend – as she refers to my daughter as danger prone daphanie – thus DD.

Both children, we now have to remind them to “turn their brains off” to go to sleep at night. To say that children with overexcitabilities have active minds, both day and night would be an understatement.

As for fast talking…I was fully ready to take my daughter in for a speech evaluation when I thought she was not speaking enough and clearly. (Remember my occupation is a hazard to myself). Well, long story short she was talking and  early – we all just thought it was jibberish – because it was too fast. Now my little lady is no wallflower, and has plenty to say. We have gone from worrying about her development to saying OMG!!! about her development. She will be 2 the end of February – knows all alphabet and their sounds; pretty much has toilet trained herself and has the fine motor skills of a 5 year old. She walks the walk and talks the talk – she IS psychomotor!!

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He is growing. Taller. Bigger. Stronger. Now when most people think of growing pains they think of those aches and pains their children feel at night as their bodies are stretching and the muscles and bones are protesting that progress. In our house, sure we get that, but today the pain is clothing. Yep. Clothes.

EE is growing and he does so in spurts. Thus, reeking havoc with his senses. In the last week or so we have outgrown some pants. Now a sane and more composed parent would also realize that means new undies too. HA! Since, EE wears his tighty whiteys loose(r) – He experiences confusion and irritation when his underpants actually fit. So here it is morning and we are doing a clothing shuffle because our jeans are too tight and the undies are in a bunch – literally. We have gone through 3 different variations on the same group of clothes trying to find the ‘best’ combination for him. Luckily, we found this in a short amount of time (and laundry). However, I will need to go to the store because we are running out of clothes and undergarments that fit us ‘appropriately’ and I don’t like having to do laundry daily. (I know in some houses this is a norm….but it is one of the luxuries of having an only.)

What does DH think of this? To him, this is one of those areas that is completely normal. No fight back or arguing on this point, because ‘seams’ and ‘tags’ irritate him too.

Good morning!

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We like turkey!!

Trying to feed the Drabowski gang in my house is no small job. The emotional over reaction to anything new is one battle I tend not to fight. But tonight I was motivated. I made turkey and we ALL were going to eat the turkey. I think I was motivated by my 3M club I attended last evening. (More to come on the meaning of that later).

I placed the 5 small pieces of turkey on his plate along with fruit of his liking. This placement of turkey set on an emotional outburst I had not seen in some time. After 9 full minutes ( I know because I set the timer at 15 and there were 6 left as things calmed down) he returned from running from the table. Once the screaming, tears, throw ourselves on the floor moments had subsided…..he tried the turkey and low and behold he declared he now likes turkey. I know am exhausted…but I have one more item on the list of foods my dear child will eat.  I always wonder if someone were to look in my house at that moment, would they really believe that I am simply putting turkey on my sons plate?!?!

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AUGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

I am at a crossroads right this second! I want to scream and yell and be emotional and cry – but my child will be home in less than 30 minutes. Time is not a luxury that I have. I am fed up with STUFF! Issues. Life. Chaos. ENOUGH!

I feel that I have officially hit overload. My brain cannot possibly handle one more thing.

What brought on this sudden ‘explosion’? The simple, innocent question…

“What’s for dinner?”

Can you feel my pain? In a life filled with overwhelming ‘stuff’….this simple question…pushes me to the brink.

And yet…I still do not have an answer.

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