Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Reaching Out

Lately, I feel completely ineffective as a parent, as a husband, as a human. I just feel like we're not working as a family. I mean we totally love each other and we're generally happy, but I feel like somehow I'm failing the kids. It just seems like we're so all over the place. Everything takes forever. I feel like we're losing control. The other day I picked Four up from pre-school, and his teacher says, "Dad, we have to talk." She didn't have time that day but we talked Monday morning after drop-off. Essentially, they are observing many of the behaviors that we are seeing at home. Previous to this we had been taking solace in the fact that while he could be a handful at home, at least he was doing well at school. So long, solace. After the discussion with the teacher, I began trolling the internet as any geek parent would do, and began to essentially reaffirm the amateur diagnosis we feared a couple of years ago, ADD/ADHD. A brother of mine was diagnosed years ago, we joke that my dad and I both have, and now it looks like in addition to my charming good looks, my son has inherited my lack of focus and my surplus of physical energy. While I've been pretty critical in the past of my ability to do this job, I am now even more seriously considering how positive a situation it is to have a likely ADD/ADHD boy staying home with an almost definitely ADD stay-at-home-dad. So, not wanting to give up my current position, at least not full-time, I am planning to get more serious about seeking some behavior modification, therapy, medication, etc. for myself(previous attempts have petered out due lack of stick-to-it-iveness) as well as for Four.

Getting back to Four, if it was just the excess energy I think we could tolerate that, in fact in this society where increasingly hear of the problems of obesity and the numbers of overweight toddlers and pre-schoolers, I actually don't mind the energy level. As I write this, I am beginning to wonder if our increasingly sedentary, prim and proper expectations for youth and schools is not doing a disservice to kids like Four and kids who don't get off their keisters enough. I digress. With Four, its the lack of self control -- grabbing toys from others with out asking, not doing as told, losing focus when doing simple tasks, and the inability to sit still. Even after begging to watch something on the tube, when I finally give in, often just visits the TV in between periods of being a nudge to his sister and playing with toys and jumping on the furniture (despite repeated reprimands and time-outs for the very same action).

I found a website that has an article and checklist for ADHD. As I read it, I couldn't help but think that they had my son pegged. At first, I was very upset and scared about the possibility of such a diagnosis. Now, I almost feel relieved. I feel that since I now know what I'm dealing with, I can better find the skills and tools to help us all cope with it better, and, in the end, help this little boy to become a happy, well-adjusted person who will be loving and well-loved.

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