Saturday, April 19, 2014

What do you do when it all looks bleak?

My day started entirely too early.  We're visiting Hammie and Buppa this week for the holiday, and this means Mad Natter is usually up with the sun.  I managed to squeak in a bit of extra sleep because all Mad Natter wanted was his Hammie, who was already awake, but then... Forty-five pounds of excited energy hit me like a ton of bricks. Mad Natter wanted gummi candy, and nothing but giving him gummis would do.

It was nine in the morning. He'd had two bowls of cereal and a banana, but wanted the candy. I told him flat out I was not sugaring him up this early in the day, but he could have some after lunch, or even after Buppa made brunch.  That's when it happened.  He went from excited yet demanding, and BOOM.  Switch flipped, he was FURIOUS.  Enraged, utterly livid with me. He grabbed, in an attempt to hurt me for thwarting his gummi plan. When informed he was not allowed to hurt me, he tried again. When that failed and he found himself seated on his bed for sanity's sake, he flopped and flailed and screamed and wailed about how he was starving, and I would never ever feed him again. How awful I am. How all he wanted was one tiny gummi, and I'm the meanest mother to ever exist for not giving it to him before I was even out of bed.

Hammie was amused, as apparently this is precisely what I was like as a child. Buppa blamed it on home schooling, as though putting him in a classroom three grades behind his ability would solve the issue. As the day went on, it went into a resounding chorus of "he's not officially gifted" and "all children are the same." and other such dismissive things.  As though explaining to my five year old that he is a little different to other five year olds, who don't read Magic School Bus chapter books, the fortunes in fortune cookies, and don't care if they have a hoodie with Minecraft diamonds on it, but would prefer Bob the Builder, was a harmful thing.  I'm not telling him he's better than other people. I'm not telling him he's less than other people. I'm telling him he's different, and that it's okay to be different.

I spent thirty-five years wondering what the hell was wrong with me - how, if all children are the same, and I'm not like the others, I must be broken - and I'm not going to put that on Mad Natter, too.  There's no point.  And no. I don't have the money to shell out for The Numbers and the Official Diagnosis. It's a minimum of $1500, and it would be 100% out of pocket. Given that it can be a stretch to make sure there's a full tank of gas in the car some months, it's fair to say I don't have that kind of coin kicking around.  But a child who, by Mooselandia-Local standards should be entering a grade 3 - grade 4 split in the fall... at SIX YEARS OLD?  I think it's pretty much a foregone conclusion there. Telling me it's not true unless I've given someone money I don't have to pronounce what I already know is another form of dismissal.  And with that Momastery article working its way around, again, I'm more than done with that dismissive stuff.

This life is not easy. There is very little I can do but hold on for the ride. I'm doing the best I can with the things I have available to me, but seeing very little result. Today, particularly after the input from my own parents, was one of those days where everything seems awful. I'm doing everything wrong, I'm turning my child into a terror, my sweet little boy will be lost forever, and I'm pushing him too hard to do things, even if they're simple for him - and I'm not pushing him hard enough to do things that are incredibly difficult for him.

Mercifully, I have a tribe now. A wonderful group of people who are able to tell me, without mincing words, that what might have worked fairly well a generation ago, isn't automatically going to hold water anymore. They were there to remind me that I'm not alone. That other people go through this. That it will get better, easier, and my sweet little one will emerge on the other side of the turbulence. I am infinitely grateful for that, otherwise today would have been a very dark day indeed.  And so I share the kind of insane day I've had with you, not because I want some kind of reply, but because I want you to know that, if you encounter these things too, you are not alone. You are NOT screwing up, you are not awful, you are a wonderful parent having a rough time with an extremely intense child.  We can do this.  We might want to drink some nights, but we can do this.  We're not alone.  Not anymore.