Monday, July 26, 2010

Lazy Summer Days

Who said summer days were lazy? More like BUSY! At least that's how they have always been for me until now. This has been a busy summer indeed but it has been the good-busy kind! I have been busy noticing my children and enjoying them. I have been busy learning how to be a kid like them! But now it's time to be lazy....

This is the first summer since I became a mom of three children that I can truly say I am enjoying having them at home. Before, when I was part of the corporate world, we were all rushing through the days in and out of camps, grandma's house and the short one-week vacation we would take to visit Mickey in Orlando or go get some sun at a Florida beach, but it always felt like a part of the same race, the race against time. After moving to Seattle and becoming a stay-at-home mom, I tried to enjoy the summers a little more but "lazy" was never a part of any summer day for us. We were always working hard with Frankie's early intervention team and breaks were not allowed, not even in the summer; if we could stick a third session in the day or even a Saturday one, we would do it, in order to make up for any sick time or to stay ahead of schedule. Still, we would try to make the best of it, sneaking in a picnic here and there, beach walks and even a short trip home but the feeling was still the same...race, race, race against time.

Even though Frankie graduated from his early intervention process, I started out this summer on the same cue, rush, rush, register the kids for this or for that, keep them busy, basketball, swimming, camp, tennis, math camps, whatever it takes to be "productive." Until I came to my senses. I have slowed down now and so have the kids. It's summer! Let the sun in and open the windows! Frankie still has goals to reach but they are so much more enjoyable when they involve a family game! Not only Frankie but Victor and Becca can definitely benefit from learning how to win and how to loose. We can all be more polite with each other and learn how to be kind helpers around the house. This new stage in Frankie's treatment is not only for him, it's for all of us! We continue to grow as a family but this time we can enjoy each other in the process - in the middle of an afternoon lunch at Green Lake or a bike ride along Lake Washington, there are a lot of things we can teach each other.

Lazy summer days have also brought quiet mornings for me...The kids sometimes sleep up to 10:00 a.m. in the morning...what is that? Oh, yes, that's called being completely out of whack with their bed time so they have to make up for lost sleep in the morning but, hey, I am OK with that. It's summer, no worries. As I type this entry right now, I'm aware of the silence, the peace and quiet and the fact that my young boys are still surprise there from the teenage girl but the boys, well, that's a summer miracle in itself. I used to blame them for never being able to get any sleep for myself but I have no excuse now! They are sleeping and I am awake...what's wrong with this picture? Nothing. It's perfect. I am awake in every sense of the word and I have been for a while now...I can look outside the window and take in this bright, beautiful, Seattle summer day and be fully awake. I know this sunny day will not last forever...the more reason why it needs to be treasured, just in case of an eventual rainy day that is sure to come our way, after all, we do live in Seattle.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"a better me!"

Everybody says that Victor looks just like me...I personally don't see it but I am glad he does. I have always secretly felt like the illegal alien working as a nanny of my own children because they look nothing like me, well, except for Victor! He reminds me of my brothers in his looks (all three of them!) but more and more I can see myself in his ways. When he smiles, his whole face lites up and it reminds me of someone else...YES, me! It's like looking into a mirror, just better.

Victor is a kind soul who truly enjoys other people; his is such a warm and engaging personality that's emerging now even more because the noise inside is no longer there. I will never regret helping our son find his "better self" with the help of medication. I can't believe I delayed his treatment for months because I was scared to be judged as the lazy mother who didn't want to "work" or handle the hyperactive kid God sent to her. Nobody understands hyperactivity better than I do I'm an undiagnosed/untreated adult with ADHD and I'm aware of it. Everyday is a struggle for me to keep things in perspective and under control. Struggling to finish what I start, in the organized chaos I call MY LIFE, is only my everyday story. I know how painful it can be to have so much noise inside your head that it's impossible to hear yourself thinking...I know how it feels to speak super fast because of the fear that your thoughts will be gone if you don''s exhausting! When I was little, my mother had to give me Valium so I could sleep but I don't blame her, it was the 70's, everyone was on something!

All joke aside, as Victor hit four and 1/2, I could see all the signs that screamed ADHD but I waited it out. I figured, I would handle it until it affected his schooling, perhaps it wouldn't, who knew...? but it did. And when his preschool teacher told me I should have him evaluated, I broke down crying. It probably wasn't a big deal in the light of dealing with another child being ASD and going through intense early intervention but at that moment, I just felt like such a failure. I felt like I had neglected my other child. I felt like I was in denial because I didn't want to face that my perfect little boy, the one who was not "broken," also needed my special attention, at a time when I was already overextended as it was. It was a shock but it woke me up. After all the evaluations, we chose to go with therapy instead of medication, it seemed more age appropriate and it worked well, but not for long. After the summer, the big Kindergarten transition sent Victor haywire and there we were again, in front of another teacher, telling us our son was out of hand and we needed to help! I stopped making excuses and went for a specialists this time, an expert on school evaluations. When he told us that our son could definitely benefit from medication we probably took a week to weight out the benefits and the downfalls of medicating him. After almost five months and three different kinds of meds, I'm over the shame of seeking help and using pills to help our child. All of these fears and taboos seemed so worthless when I heard my six-year-old son answer the question his pediatrician asked him after only one month of treatment. When asked how the pills made him feel, Victor said: "It makes me a better me." I couldn't agree more. This better Victor can now draw pictures and enjoys coloring...he had never been able to do that before. This better Victor speaks slowly and coherent, he allows himself to breath between words! This better Victor is proud to be a big boy and it shows when he takes upon tasks he never did before. This better Victor seats still and participates in our meals together. He is still Victor, our charming boy, but he is better in so many ways we never thought possible and his true colors can now shine brighter because all the clouds are gone. I'm sorry I didn't help him sooner because I was ashamed but I'm glad I can see how much better his future can be because he is now himself...only better.