Where’s That Parenting Handbook??

I’m finding it harder and harder to be a parent. It’s not like I ever thought it would be easy, I just don’t think I ever realized how difficult it could actually be. I have three boys who are so very different from each other and each one has such highly specific needs right now. I often feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions and it’s hard for me to focus on one kid and his problems when another kid and his problems come up.

I’m going to write in more detail about each boy later. For now, here’s a run-down of what is on my plate:

We have decided to move forward with having him tested for ADD/ADHD. I have been quite reluctant about doing this for several years now, but a lot of factors have come in to play this school year and have brought it to the forefront of my mind. The more reading and studying I do I about it, the more I see how beneficial it would be if he is diagnosed because then we can move forward with medications and solutions. I want my son to succeed. At this point, by trying to ignore these symptoms, I’m facilitating his frustrations and failures. My job as a parent is to help my child, not hinder them. So… off to the doctor we go.

Aiden also is kind of a hypochondriac. A few weeks ago he was doing this massive study at school on OCD and is now convinced he has it. He jumped up and ran away from the dinner table one night because he said he was having OCD thoughts and his reading says when that happens, you run away from it. ~sigh~ I’m sure he does have a small amount of OCD (every body does), but he convinced himself it’s worse than normal for him. So not true. I think he’s forgotten about it, though. This week he is convinced he has asthma.

Aiden is a worrier. He worries and worries about needless things, and they escalate until he has a complete breakdown. Last night was Cub Scout night. The boys were in the van, waiting for me to drive Aiden, when I realized Aiden was sobbing in the back seat. I got him to calm down enough to talk, and everything came out in a rush. “I hate being poor! We have this stupid van from 2004. Why can’t we ever have anything new? Nothing we own is ever new!! Why do we have to spend thousands of dollars on mine and Parker’s health? And I need more money in my lunch account because my lunch time is so late and I’m so hungry that I’m eating all of my sack lunch for snack and then I’m hungry at lunch time!! Why do we have to be so poor??” Wow. So I spent some time calming him down and talking to him about each issue he said. Aiden is taking too much of his environment to heart.

Dallin is a sweet kid, a good helper, and hard worker, and really smart. But boy, does he have some emotional issues. He can snap in a second. Yesterday he got an answer right in class, so he got to pick out a pencil. He didn’t like the pencil (it was the only one left) and said it was dumb. So he got very angry and started throwing the pencil. He says he threw it 10 times. The last time it went across the classroom and hit a little girl, who promptly got up, left the class, pulled out a cell phone, and called her dad. Her dad called the principal, who then went to the classroom where Dallin was under a desk, kicking and screaming because he was mad about this pencil. Ches and I already had an appointment with the principal and vice-principal about Dallin, so we got to hear all about this right after it happened. Again, all his teachers and the principals and the office staff say he is a complete sweetheart. He just has these emotional outbursts for a few minutes. Then they get him to calm down, and he’s perfect for 3 or 4 weeks. Then the cycle starts all over again. It’s so frustrating.

A few months ago Parker woke up in the middle of the night with the worst case of croup any of my kids has ever had. Nothing I could do made it better. So I actually took him, at 1 am, to a children’s all-night urgent care. He was given a breathing treatment and sent home. The next day, I was talking to one of my assistants about it, and she insisted on calling her mom and stepdad who have a clinic for children. They deal specifically with breathing issues and allergies. Stephanie’s mom checked Parker out thoroughly, and the nurses ran several tests. We found out that Parker actually has allergy-induced asthma. He is allergic to olive trees and just about every kind of grass (bermuda, ragweed, etc.) that we use here in Arizona. He is allergic to the area of the valley we live in. (He is also allergic to shrimp and cod, but not to dairy, like we had wondered.) Stephanie’s mom gave us medication and a nebulizer (it has a cool dragon mask for him to breathe into!). We got more prescriptions and bought children’s Zyrtec. He’s doing much better, overall, breathing wise. But we have to keep right on it.

And most of you know that for the last several years we have been dealing with Parker’s digestive issues. He is very small for his age — extremely short and underweight. He just doesn’t eat (turns out food just makes him hurt!). He had rectal prolapse. We spent a year and a half giving him Miralax every day and watching him to make the rectal prolapse correct itself so we didn’t have to have surgery. Right before he turned 5, after another check-up with the GI specialist, we took him completely off dairy for 2 weeks. The immediate response in his body was amazing. He doesn’t have to have Miralax every day! He is allowed small amounts of dairy, but we really watch his intake. Like I said, he’s not allergic to dairy. But he obviously has an intolerance. So he is allowed a piece of cheese pizza or a bowl of mac-n-cheese. Sometimes we even let him have small bowls of ice cream. For the most part, however, he doesn’t drink dairy milk (we buy Silk at Costco now, just for him), he isn’t allowed yogurt or string cheese for snacks, and we try to find non-dairy frozen yogurt for him to eat if we go out someplace special. We make an effort to limit the amount of dairy he has, and it has made all the difference in the world! He’s finally gaining weight!! He’s grown a couple of inches!!

I know, he’s not my son. But we have issues, too, you know! Ches broke his elbow a couple days after Christmas and it has been really hard for him. He is not in a cast of splint of any kind. It was a non-displaced fracture, meaning the bones didn’t move out of place. That’s good because it means no surgery. So Ches has been in a sling. He’s still in a lot of pain and he doesn’t feel like he has any strength in his grip. He’s getting a lot of movement back now, so we know he’s healing. It’s just slow. It’s especially been hard because he can’t play his trumpet. Oh! Did I mention it’s his right elbow, and he’s right handed? He can’t write or type. And don’t forget… he’s a band and orchestra conductor. He has to do only left handed conducting, which is hard to do. He’s used to having both hands to be effective. I have had to take over a lot more duties around the house and with the boys because Ches just can’t do it. I had to drive our entire trip to California (not fun for the pregnant lady!!). I had to cut the wood and help waaaay more than I would have liked with Aiden’s Pinewood Derby car (but hey! Aiden got 1st place!). I have to do more chores. And honestly, I’m missing out on a lot of sleep because I’m so worried about bumping into Ches’ arm during the night. A queen size bed isn’t that large when you have an expanding belly and your husband has a broken elbow. I also really miss little things. For example, Ches hasn’t yet felt the baby move. He can’t just reach over with his arm like he did when I was pregnant with the others. And the other night I woke up with a massive anxiety attack. In the past, Ches has always been there to rub my back, help calm me down, etc. But with the broken elbow, he has to stay back because I’m violently shaking and I could seriously hurt him. I miss just the feeling at night of his arm sneaking around my waist when he’s sleeping. It’s killing me to not have that physical contact when he’s RIGHT THERE.

So that’s about it. We are all crazy in this house. We all have a bajillion issues going on. And I’m feeling completely stressed out on a regular basis and like a total failure because I just can’t keep up with it all. I just want to go to bed and sleep for about a week.