I Will Not Be Facebooked!

Nope.
I will not be joining the now all but infamous Facebook… at least, not again.
I did join, a while ago, ‘coz I’m a total link addict (you link it and I check it out) and I was seeing this cute button with a picture on it in some of my favourite blogger’s sidebars, and I was then a Facebooker for about 3 days. And it was fun to see who I could find, and hook up with people I hadn’t seen in a while… much like e-mail and messenger! Teehee… and then I deactivated myself because between blogging, e-mail groups, interweb forums, reading my favourite bloggers and trying to catch up on my writing I was not getting to everything because there’s so much to do in Facebook!

Then I started getting more and more e-mails from friends asking if I was on Facebook yet and could they find me there and and and… and my colleagues were getting Facebooked as well… and e-mailing them isn’t near as much fun as poking them don’t you know…
So I gave in and went back and reactivated my Facebook account (as they keep your details in case you change your mind) after giving the terms and conditions a thorough re-read. Have you read them by the way?
Then, just for interest sake I went and checked out my high school to see if any people I was at school with had registered themselves- and there were several… but I felt absolutely no inclination to contact ANY of them. I did click on the little “send message” option for a few of the people, and then I sat and stared at my screen… after which I closed the screen without sending them anything. I felt no desire whatsoever to send them a “HI” just ‘coz we were at school together…
See, I Google myself fairly often to make sure I haven’t loaded something somewhere that I feel is a wee bit too much information… and then inside Facebook, just out of curiosity, I searched for someone whom I REALLY do not want to speak to ever again let alone have him able to trace me or information about me… AND I FOUND HIM!!
My heart nearly stopped!!!
Within five minutes I had deactivated myself again…

Let Us Not Look Back In Anger, Or Forward In Fear, But Around In Awareness.*

As much as I understand the need to examine all the angles; and people’s right to express their opinions; and I have nothing against the article as such- but this is exactly the kind of thing that makes us parents so friggin’ nervous!!!
Ritalin Use Doubles After Divorce is SO not the kind of article you want to come across if your child has just been or is going through the AD/HD diagnosis process. And trust me bunnies- actually getting a diagnosis is no quick thing. It means reams and reams of paperwork and questionnaires, plenty of appointments with doctors and specialists of all sorts and lots and lots of frustration and tears for the child as well as the parents. In my experience- AD/HD medication use does indeed increase after divorce, often because one of the parents is completely anti-medication (something I learned in my support group- I’m not sucking it out of my thumb)… much to the child’s detriment. And the stress of dealing with an AD/HDer is often the cause of divorce, not divorce the cause of ADHD as is often assumed. Here are some snippets from the article…
“Results from a recent Canadian study show that children from broken marriages are twice as likely to be prescribed attention-deficit drugs as children whose parents stay together… Other studies have shown that children of single parents are more likely to get prescribed drugs such as Ritalin… On the other hand, there is also the very public perception that divorce is always bad for kids and so when children of divorce come to the attention of the health-care system- possibly because parents anticipate their child must be going through adjustment problems- doctors may be more likely to diagnose a problem and prescribe Ritalin… In March, a University of California, Berkeley study found that the use of drugs to treat ADHD has more than tripled worldwide since 1993. Strohschein said it is possible that some mental health problems pre-date the divorce…”
The article ended with this question: Ritalin use has a long and checkered history? What are your views on this drug? For what reason was your child prescribed the drug and have you noticed an improvement?
I’d love to hear your opinions…
*James Thurber

So, Just How Safe Are You- Really?

This thought struck me a few days ago, and it’s been on my mind a lot.
Most of us in South Africa (at least, most of us in the middle class suburbs) live in fortresses- behind eight foot walls, palisade fencing, remote operated electronic gates, movement triggered spotlights, armed response teams, alarm systems, car immobilisers and smash-proof windows… and most of us think that’s enough to make us safe. Most of us think we’re careful enough and that we keep an eye on our surroundings… but do we really? Most of us are careful who we give our details to over the internet and so on as well, and think that’s enough.
Well, lemme argue my case, shall I?
I stopped at a supermarket to buy bread and milk one afternoon and the cashier asked me where my son was. I blinked at her, smiled, said he was at home, and then I forgot about it. I stopped at the same supermarket (probably the next day or a day later) and a different cashier asked me how old Damien was- he was with me- I told her he was 16 and she commented on how much he’s grown. This struck me as, what’s the word, a little personal? I dunno; it seemed almost invasive.
I know a lot of people disagree with my “attitude” when it comes to people who provide me with a service- in that I don’t WANT to be their friends. I will be polite but that’s where I draw the line. I don’t discuss the weather and I don’t go out of my way to tell people to have a nice day and so on. Please and thank you is about it. I also don’t chat to the people in line with me if I can help it, and I get annoyed with complete strangers who talk to me out of the blue.
Then with the cashiers asking me personal questions- I realised that my parents and myself have been using the same supermarket, café, video shop, garage, doctor, bottle store, chemist, etcetera, for more than twenty years. And despite my habit of being simply polite and no more- most of the people who work in these places have also been there for 20 odd years, and as a result have gotten to know who’s connected to whom. In fact, one of the cashiers at the same supermarket once asked me if I still lived in the same flat! I was more than a little stunned as I realised that someone- someone I wasn’t even on a first name basis with- knew where I lived! And then I did the math (so to speak) and I realised that the cashiers know who my mom is… who my granny is… and who Damien is. And since I don’t like being too friendly I get annoyed when the people who work at the places I frequent start treating me like an old friend… maybe its just good customer service in most people’s eyes- but these are people I hardly know- who know an awful lot about me!
Extreme as it may sound, I have decided to shop and fill up my car elsewhere- and I’ll be making sure I don’t frequent the same place too often either.
All I want is polite customer service; I sure as hell don’t want to make friends with the woman who bags my groceries or the guy who fills my car and cleans my windscreen.

Is There Such A Thing As Adrenalin Overload?

Adrenalin junkies should just try raising an ADHDer!

It’s just as risky I think- and they will never again feel the need to go BASE jumping, skydiving, gorge swinging, paragliding or cave diving. You all know what Adrenalin is right? And you all know why the extreme sportsmen do what they do right? Well, I couldn’t find anything referring to an overload specifically, but I’m pretty damn sure it’s possible!

I mean- if you overdose on drugs- they pump adrenalin straight into your heart (and yes I have seen Pulp Fiction). If your blood pressure is screwed- you get adrenalin to get your heart pumping!

So. Yesterday morning, I went to church with my granny darling, leaving Damien at home to sleep late and play PS2 when he woke up. He doesn‘t go to church with me at all anymore. I ask- he declines. I’m working on it.

When I got home around 1pm Damien was wide awake and his thumbs were attached to the PS2 controller- as I expected. . . but after a bit I suspected he hadn’t taken his meds. He said he had- but he has a way about him that makes me wonder. . . the insane giggling a’ la Dr Evil, the eating me out of house and home (and I’m talking three days groceries in one morning kind of eating) and driving the cats nuts are all a dead give away that he is un-medicated. And of course the instant temper tantrum should I question his integrity by saying I don’t think he’s had his meds is also a clear sign that he really didn’t take it. . .

So what happened to give me an adrenalin rush?

Well, it was about 9pm; and Damien was supposed to be asleep- but he was restless. Then it got quiet. I figured he was asleep and went to the bedroom to check on him like I do every night. He wasn’t asleep. He was standing at his window- sort of hidden behind his curtains and I just knew he was up to no good. Then I saw the flames. . . again. . .

Instant head rush, bunnies!

Heart pounding- sweating- tunnel vision!

I run to the kitchen for the watering can- cursing myself for still not having decent fire extinguishers in the house- and run back to Damien’s room. This took about ten seconds. . . and the flames are now on his window frame and on the sill outside!

I’m trying to ask what he’s burning and trying to get him out the way (because he doesn’t want me to see what he was doing) so I can put the fire out. As he says “nail polish remover” I pour- and then I curse because I know exactly what’s going to happen. . . the water carries the liquid and the flames off the window frame and down the wall. They disappear, and I make sure I can’t see any more flames before I go running out the door in panties and t-shirt to make sure there’s no fire beneath us (since we’re on the second floor)!!!

And then I did the worst thing I could have done, the same thing all of us do- I yelled! And I lectured! And then I yelled some more. Damien just disappeared under his duvet, muttering… you can imagine how much he actually heard of what I said.

And then I had to sit down before my legs caved in!

I spent the rest of the night creeping into the kitchen or standing in Damien’s doorway peering out the windows looking for a suspicious flickering glow from beneath our flat. . .

Maybe I should make him sleep in the lounge, and in my room where I can watch him, then I’ll even save money by renting a one bedroom place. . .

Anyone wanna take over here? I don’t wanna be an adrenalin junkie!

Parenthood Is A Lot Easier To Get Into Than Out Of*

Something’s been on my mind for a while, it started around the time I realised Damien was going to be turning sixteen… and I finally realised what it was. It boils down to the following: I am fast approaching a grey area in terms of parenting… it’s a bit like I’m looking ahead and seeing things through a very dirty window! See, when I was sixteen and a half years old- my life as a teenager effectively ended- because I fell pregnant with Damien!

Till now, I have based the majority of my decisions and parenting style on what I went through when I was Damien’s age and how my parents handled stuff I went through and got up to. True, I’ve had a few curve balls… but I haven’t done too badly I don’t think.

Thing is- I don’t know what a normal sixteen and seventeen year old gets up to. Granted, I lived with two sisters and a brother- but I was pretty much wrapped up in my own little world and didn’t pay them much attention except to be bitchy! And by the time da Bruvva reached Damien’s age, I had lived alone with Damien for five years or so already (da Bruvva was only 7 or so when Damien was born) so had not really witnessed any of what my parents had to deal with as he grew up!

I think I’m going to be asking for help a lot…

*Bruce Lansky