My Mom Wrote A Poem…

A COAT OF MY GRANDCHILDREN

three grandchildren were not on this photo shoot, and one wasn’t born yet

 I once had a coat of beautiful hue,
Made up of the warmth and love from all of you!
Then tragedy struck and my coat lost a thread.
A seam has a weakness where Nathan once tread.

My coat of loving colours is thin in some places –
It will always be worn where he used to be.
It feels rough, uncomfortable – I need to adjust
To my new coat of love with a little rust.

When it gets too scratchy and chaffs at my heart,
I hold on to your love because you are a part
Of my coat and my life – your love gives me strength!
Your weave in my coat will restore the weak seam;
Even though we will always miss Nathan’s being.

When I wrap my coat around me
I thank God above to be
Filled with your presence, your voices, your humour and love!
Baby hands, teenage hands, young man’s hands – you
Make my coat warm and snuggly and less scratchy too.
I will get used to it – this coat that feels wrong…
It’s either too short, too scratchy or too long.
I will get used to it – because precious ones you
Will help make it comfy with its new shape and hue!

By: Nana Glen – 24 May 2012

A Whole Weekend Of Awesomeness!

Oh my goodness!!

What a weekend!!

Last week I got a text message from Sass inviting me to her “Champagne Club” lunch on Saturday! I was so excited I could barely contain myself waiting for Saturday to dawn! I have a few girl-crushes that I am sure I have mentioned before, and Sass is one of them! She’s beautiful, talented, artistic, loving and intelligent! She’s glamorous, yet down to earth, and when I grow up I want to be just like her! If I wasn’t a mostly normal person I would be an out and out stalker!

My sweet Glugster dropped me off at Sass’s house after I spent two hours trying to decide what to wear (eventually settling on my Sass Designs Tuck Dress) and then he stayed home with the puppies and left me to lunch with a VERY cool group of women! I got to practice my afrikaans, we ate a glorious lunch, I took cupcakes for dessert, and we drank a LOT of champagne!! I can’t remember when last I was so pickled! By the time my hubby fetched me that evening (yes, our lunch ended well into supper time, and thank goodness I took Sass’s advice and organised to be dropped off and fetched) I was giggling like a loon for absolutely no reason, and I had a brief BBM conversation with my family in which my ridiculous spelling and such had them all in stitches! Thank goodness I put the phone down and went to sleep before I started on Twitter or Facebook!

Thank you Sass!

And thanx for the photo Sass!

And then on Sunday, my Glugster and I got to celebrate a very dear friend’s birthday with him. We got together with Jon and a whole lot of his friends at an awesome place called Gilroy’s! Spending the afternoon with Jon and Sheena was fabulous as always, and the astmosphere at Gilroy’s made us want to stay there all day! Whoever decorated Gilroy’s had an absolute blast, putting up the strangest signs for no apparent reason! The owner and host keeps his patrons entertained and it feels more like you’re partying at a friend’s house than eating at an open air restaurant. It was glorious and it suited the occasion down to the ground!

Thank you Jon for inviting us to share your birthday celebration!

one of the signs with no apparent purpose – apart from telling you to beware of the sign!

Here’s Your Chance!

You know how, when we drive around our lives every day and see children begging at the traffic light or see something heartrending on TV, and we think “…I wish I could do something to help…” or “…I wish someone would do something…“?

Well, these women did. Third Thursday is a group of women- most of them working moms- who started getting together back in 2004 to work to actively make a difference in South African communities. They raise funds and awareness for a variety of community-based organisations and every cent they raise goes to these causes.

In November 2009 I went to a Third Thursday luncheon where Debra Patta was the speaker and let me tell you- it was fascinating! She spoke of her journalistic career, her children and meeting Madiba, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only did we have an awesome lunch and get to listen to an enthralling speaker, there were lucky draws and give-aways of jewellery and spa days, AND we each got goodie bags filled with all sorts of things from nougat to magazines!

This year, they are collecting money to help purchase a bus for Mthimkhulu Stimulation Centre in Soweto. The centre provides a daycare service for mentally handicapped children so that their parents can go to work and know their children are safe and cared for. Many of these children are immobile, and many of their parents rely on taxis for their own transport making it very difficult to get their children to and from the daycare.

This year the speaker is none other than Helen Zille! She’s flying up to Joburg especially for the breakfast, and flying back to Cape Town immediately afterwards! This is not going to be a political rally, Helen will be sharing her experiences and insights and if there’s time after her presentation there will be a Q&A session, and this fabulous lady is not charging Third Thursday for her time.

For just R250pp, you can attend this breakfast and help Mthimkhulu, listen to a great speaker, and take part in a few “Heads or Tails” auctions (I’m not going to explain those here, you’ll have to attend to find out what they’re all about) where for a mere R20, R50 or R100, you could nab yourself all kinds of things from a high tea to a weekend away so be sure to take some cash with you as well!

You Learn Something EVERY Day!

Just this week I wrote an ADHD related post, and I believe it was in the last point of that particular post that I wrote “AD/HD is a diagnosis, not a personality trait.

And then this morning I opened my ADDconsults.com email newsletter and in it Terry was talking about her birthday and she wrote “I have ADD; I am not an ADDer.”

Picture Gru…

LIGHTBULLLLB!!!

Even though I firmly believe AD/HD does not define the person diagnosed with it, I have been referring to these very people as AD/HDers for years, simply because it is easier to say than “person diagnosed with AD/HD“!

I have been learning about AD/HD since my son was diagnosed with it, and my attitude towards the diagnosis and treatment has changed completely in that time. And now, today, it changes again!

I will work hard to never again refer to my child or anyone else as an AD/HDer.

So What Do I Think Of Dr Badenhorst’s 10 Steps Before Ritalin?

A few weeks ago, @kay_za asked me on Twitter what I thought of Dr Hein Badenhorst’s 10 Steps before Ritalin. I was very flattered that she wanted my input, but the 140 characters allowed on Twitter wasn’t nearly enough for me to give a proper opinion. I asked her if I could do a blog post about it.

And then life’s dwang hit the proverbial fan, and I didn’t actually get to write it till now!

I hope you haven’t given up on me @kay_za!

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I can’t post Dr Badenhorst’s presentation here as I do not have his permission to do so, but I have been lucky enough to hear him speak on more than one occasion and I think I can tell you what I think of his 10 points without treading on his toes. To put it simply, I agree with him. It took me years to learn these “lessons”, but I agree with him.

He begins his talk by stating- as I have- that whilst there is a place for medications like Ritalin, Concerta and Strattera (and such) in the treatment regimen for AD/HDers, there are a few things to check out first.

First on the list- hydration. Drink water people! We don’t drink enough water and its essential for our brains to function! Children are given iced tea, rooibos tea and watered down fruit juice instead of water from when they are tiny because it tastes better than water- even though our kids don’t know better! You do more harm than good by giving your child the artificial sweeteners, colourants and preservatives in these products. Add a little fresh lemon juice of you don’t like the taste of plain water! Filter your tap water and avoid fizzy drinks. You only need to lose 2% of your body’s normal water level to be dehydrated, and dehydration can be mistaken for hunger, cause headaches and lethargy! And our AD/HDer children are thirsty children!

Number two is methylation. It is “the body’s ability… to add (or subtract) methyl groups to chemical compounds“. The SA population is apparently especially prone to a genetic defect that prevents proper methylation, and high homocysteine levels contribute to depression, bad concentration and mood swings. Ring a bell?

Point three- stable sugar levels. You heard me- sugar levels!! For those who don’t know, glucose is the most important brain nutrient, but excess sugar damages nerve cells. The important thing is to use complex, slow-release carbohydrates to balance your sugar levels (whole grains, whole fruits, spinach) not chocolate! Leave out the breakfast cereals, fizzy drinks and high energy sweets.

Point number four – balanced fats. Good fats that is. Supplement with a high quality Omega 3 fish oil and cut out as much margarine and junk food as possible. The human brain is 80% water and its “dry weight” is 60% fat! If your lipidation is out of whack, you will battle with brittle nails, sinus infections and your memory will suffer. Sound familiar?

Number five on his list is supplementation. I have said it before, and Dr Badenhorst says the same- we do NOT get the nutrients we need from our food. Unless you grow your own organic veggies and eat them fresh, you are not getting the nutrients you need from your food. Take a multivitamin (which can make kids nauseous if they don’t have breakfast) and a good Omega 3 supplement, but do it CORRECTLY. Over-supplementing can actually cause or aggravate ADHD symptoms (I have spoken about diet and supplements on my blog before).

Point six- allergies. Did you know that we take in up to 5kg of artificial additives in our food in a year?! These additives can cause or aggravate allergies and children with AD/HD are more likely to battle with food allergies.

Number seven is stress! Our AD/HDers battle higher levels of stress than neuro-typical children because they have to work so much harder to achieve “normal” results in terms of behaviour and in their school work. Many of them battle to adjust to situations and changes in structure and it stresses them out!

Adequate sleep is number eight. Structured bedtimes and waking up on time.

Number nine is a healthy colon. Yup. Even for children! Ninety percent of our body’s serotonin is manufactured in the colon! Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to memory and learning, and incorrect levels can cause depression and anxiety. Teach your child not to “hold it in” and go to the toilet regularly, constipation can actually be toxic.

His last point is about psychology and behaviour. Our AD/HD children are stressed. Plain and simple. Think about your own attitude towards AD/HD as parent to an AD/HDer. Are you stressed and depressed about it? Do you get apprehensive and defensive when preparing for parents evening or heading for yet another doctor’s appointment? I know from my own experience, that we as parents react very badly to a diagnosis of AD/HD, sometimes taking MONTHS to come to terms with it as parents. And in that time we are working so hard to research it and learn to accept it and not telling anyone for fear of alienation and- dare I say it- being labelled, that we don’t help our AD/HDer accept it! We don’t explain it to them or tell them what’s potting. Instead we drag them from doctor to specialist and get second and third opinions. We argue with doctors, teachers and family members about how to treat it and how to deal with it- almost never involving our AD/HD child in these discussions. We mistakenly believe that what they don’t know can’t hurt them… But they do know. They know they are different, usually long before we seek out a diagnosis as parents. Our angst about it doesn’t make it easier for them to deal with it. And then we focus so much on waiting for adverse side effects from medications and changing our diets that we forget our AD/HDers have exceptional talents and abilities as people. AD/HD is a diagnosis not a personality trait. I urge you as parents to consider psychotherapy for yourselves as well as for your AD/HDer.

What Dr Badenhorst’s talk comes down to is that if you can focus on these ten points and make the necessary changes your AD/HDer may not need medication at all. At the same time, keep in mind that some AD/HDers do need meds. Don’t punish yourself or blame the doctor or school if yours is one of those children. You need to do everything in your power to help your AD/HDer grow up into a balanced adult.

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Disclaimer: I am a blogger and a mom to an adult AD/HDer, I am not a professional anything. What I write is purely my opinion on things I feel strongly about, based on my experience as an AD/HDer parent.