From My Mommy Darling

I know this is a case of too little too late. Angel, my precious child, please post this on your blog. It comes from the deepest corners of my heart to you and to ALL the parents who try and go it alone with the love and understanding of ignorant family (I was one of those until recently!) and so they really are not supported much. This is for the education, remedial and medical organisations who do not give these amazing children the opportunities they deserve. This is especially for our government who could be assisting these organisations so much, much more.
People, there is a brain drain happening in the foundations of this country because our most intelligent children are not adequately provided for! The very foundation of South Africa is her children. Just imagine how much these gifted children have to offer! They have been misunderstood for too long and their needs have been slipping through the cracks. There are future Einstein’s in these children and yet they are being suppressed and misunderstood by families, all the systems and a society that does not understand. I know this, I was one of them!
ADD or ADHD children (here after called Adders) have a chemical imbalance in the brain. Just like any other children with learning disorders, so too do these children require specialised schooling, diets and understanding. They are above average intelligence that is why they are such precious resources to our country’s future. There is not much support for them or their parents in South Africa.
Darling Damien, I owe you a huge apology my precious boy. I love you dearly and this you know. However, I have wasted many years thinking I understood and foolishly assuming you would outgrow ADHD. I did not research; or hear your mother when she gave me information; or read carefully the articles she sent me. Why? I simply do not know. Maybe denial was easier.
But just like your Grampa’s diabetes, you will not outgrow ADHD (that I now accept). And just like your Grampa, we have to all live with it and support you in your needs. To support you we have to be there for your mom so much more too. Thank you Angel for being so gentle and patient with me.
I would like all Adder mom’s, dad’s, auntie’s, uncle’s, granny’s and Grampa’s, teachers, etc to make the following promise out loud: (replace the words ‘my Adder’ with a name)
From this point onward I promise to regard my Adder as a GIFTED child. I accept my Adder I will strive to see only the POSITIVE, BEAUTIFUL and BRILLIANT attributes in my Adder. I will no longer be nagging my Adder directly and will remind my Adder gently and without reproach. I will strive to build my Adder’s self esteem and I shall encourage everyone around me to recognise all Adders as GIFTED, TALENTED, INTELLIGENT and an INSPIRATION to everyone. My purpose will be to inform all institutions and people daily about our GIFTED adders so that more can done to encourage their healthy development and contribution to society!

Make a copy of this promise and stick it on your fridge, bedroom cupboards, in fact every room in the house. It will remind you to guard your thoughts and hold your tongue in those heated moments.
The song following I dedicate to all the precious misunderstood Adders, and especially MY GIFT – I love you Damien. Thank you Angel for a wonderful, beautiful, gifted grandson!!

She climbs a tree
And scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear.
She waltzes on her way to mass
And whistles on the stair.
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair!
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey.
She’s always late for chapel,
But her penitence is real.
She’s always late for everything,
Except for every meal.
I hate to have to say it
But I very firmly feel
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey!
I’d like to say a word in her behalf.
Maria makes me laugh!
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and bring it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertigibbet!
A willo’ the wisp!
A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her,
Many a thing she ought to understand.
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say,
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
When I’m with her I’m confused,
Out of focus and bemused,
And I never know exactly where I am.
Unpredictable as weather,
She’s as flighty as a feather,
She’s a darling,
She’s a demon,
She’s a lamb.
She’d out-pester any pest,
Drive a hornet from his nest,
She could throw a whirling dervish
Out of whirl.
She is gentle,
She is wild,
She’s a riddle.
She’s a child.
She’s a headache!
She’s an angel!
She’s a girl.
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a clown and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertigibbet!
A willo’ the wisp!
A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her,
Many a thing she ought to understand.
But how do you make her say,
And listen to all you say?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

How We Got To Here (Part 1)

Lately I’ve been reading Kids And Coping With ADHD about how her journey with her ADHDer son started and progressed over the years. Considering I started MY mommy-blog when Damien was already 14, I am going to try and go back in time a bit… it may serve to help moms who are starting out to know they are never alone on the journey that I have completed some of.

To reiterate- I had a perfectly normal, perfectly healthy, full term pregnancy. In fact- if I knew for sure that it would ALWAYS be that easy (and had circumstances allowed) I wouldn’t have hesitated to have more babies!

I think I must be honest and say that I suspected I may have a “hard time” raising Damien alone when his bad temper surfaced before we even left the hospital. I may have mentioned it before- but lemme recap.

I woke my folks up (I was 17 and lived at home) at a little after 11pm and told them I had a backache and couldn’t sleep and thought I might be in labour. Mommy Darling asked if I could feel contractions and I said yes I think so, so she suggested I go back to bed and try and time them. When they were five minutes apart- around midnight, I went back to my folks and said “I’m pretty sure I am in labour now.” I carried my own long packed suitcase to the car and Daddy Darling woke Sister B (then 16) to tell her we were leaving and to keep an eye on Sister C (10) and da Bruvva (9). I think my Ouma would have been there in the morning but I can’t remember. We drove to the hospital, found no-one in reception so we made our own way up to the maternity ward- suprising the nurses on duty that should have been called by reception. The nurse who examined me told me Damien would probably arrive at about 7am and I must try and relax- Mommy Darling and I both said we didn’t think he’d be waiting that long… but what did I know! He was born at 02h47! Mommy Darling was my coach- we’d had several ante-natal classes so I did all the breathing I was supposed to do- with Mommy Darling’s help! The nurses were very impressed.

Anyhoo, my darling Damien was three days old (back when new moms spent a week in hospital) and they diagnosed jaundice and said he had to sleep naked under a “black light” in an incubator for a couple of days until his Bilirubin count came down to normal levels again. So the nurses wheeled in a big box incubator with a light on the top and a disposable nappy in the bottom… and a little black mask that Damien was supposed to wear to protect his eyes. Lemme tell you people- maybe its ‘coz I wasn’t used to anything like this, but it took me AND Mommy Darling to get that mask over Damien’s eyes! Then I had to put him in the incubator. He was supposed to lie on his tummy on the disposable nappy because he had to be naked. Lemme tell you people- Damien screamed blue murder and wriggled and squirmed until he had flipped himself onto his side with his back and bum against the glass of the incubator… then he was happy- and went to sleep! The nurses moaned at me for not putting him on his tummy, and of course didn’t believe me when I said he did it himself… what three day old baby can do that I ask you!?! Well- I made them stand there with me and watch as he did it again!

Talk about speechless…

part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6

Tucking Feachers!

I had another lengthy telephonic argument with a teacher last Friday morning.
I got a note from her last Wednesday, as well as a voicemail from another teacher please to call her back as soon as I had a chance. I called the one who left a message but she wasn’t answering, so I called the one who sent me a note. This woman- as soon as I told her who I was- got stuck into me like I was a teenager in her class and I hadn’t done my homework! I was quite speechless. She insisted she wanted to have a meeting with myself and all Damien’s other teachers because he wasn’t working in anyone’s class and he does nothing but draw in her class and so on and so on ad nauseam.
Thank goodness for my happy pills, because I managed to remain cordial throughout the “conversation” and when I thought she’d finished, I asked her why she had not attended any of the three meetings that I had called throughout the school year. I asked her why she had not contacted me sooner if Damien was having hassles in her class because that’s exactly what I have repeatedly asked Damien’s teachers to do rather than leave it till it’s too late- like September (DUH)! I asked her why she had not spoken to Mrs. C (who is the head of the grade 8 department whom I speak to almost on a weekly basis) about her hassles with Damien. I asked her if she had any workable solutions as to the things Damien wasn’t doing since I wasn’t at school with him all day. Then I asked her what she would say to me in a face to face meeting that she had not yet said over the phone? Needless to say her answers were unsatisfactory at best- and when I hung up I called Mrs. C and gave her an earful about how I resented being spoken to like a naughty child and being treated as if I had paid absolutely no attention to Damien and his performance at their school throughout the year. I also told her that since half of Damien’s teachers had not attended the meetings I requested that I was now not prepared to meet with them and let them have at me like a pack of yapping Chihuahuas about Damien and his problems without coming up with decent solutions (okay- I didn’t say exactly that but that’s what it came down to).
Been there, done that. Believe me!!!!
I reminded Mrs. C that I have repeatedly requested feedback from Damien’s teachers- verbal and written- because it’s a vital part of his ADHD management and that not getting said feedback to me was impinging on his treatment.
I then told her that I am applying to another school for next year and that in my humble opinion- the teachers can just “stick it out” for what’s left of this year.Now of course I just have to pray that the other school accepts him- he still has an interview and an entrance exam to pass for them!


And yes- I’m swearing… that’s how gatvol I am!
I got another one this morning.
Damien was caught smoking at school yet again today. He insists he wasn’t- but he was caught with a cigarette in his hands and he smells of smoke! And the woman who phoned me says this is the fourth time in the last month or so- I only know of one other time, and I paid the fine for that one, now I have this fine and three more! That’s R800! At this rate Damien isn’t going to have any money in his bank account for nearly a year!
I was expecting to fetch Damien early today but because he’s still coughing… last week Thursday & Friday I was at home with him and he felt better over the weekend, but he got worse through the week again and I made an appointment to take him to the doctor today after work. Then when I saw the school’s number I expected it to be a secretary telling me he’s sick and I can pick him up.
But no…
So I cried today- for the first time in a loooong time.
Usually my happy pills don’t let me go that far, but today I was THAT frustrated!