May 13, 2011

Label me

I'd like to welcome you to my world of labels.

The Bug has sever anxiety, which causes her to have stomach problems.
Monkey is Extremely ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).  When I say Extremely, I mean literally bouncing off the walls (at least when he's not on his meds).
Potato is borderline ADD, just had the doctor visit about that today.
Oh and all three of them are ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) to some degree.
And of course there is me.  I am ADD too.

So you may be asking yourself, "Why am I just putting it all out there like this, especially in this world of excessive labeling."  The answer is because, well it's completely true and because we are more than just a family of labels.  I know that it almost seems like everyone, kids to adults, are being labeled with some kind of disorder.  And I do acknowledge that there are times when doctors diagnose wrong, but not just with psychiatric disorders (my dad is living proof is misdiagnoses). 

So let me take you back thirteen years ago.

My Bug has always been a very sensitive and anxious child.  She couldn't wait to start school, but couldn't bear to have me leave her.  She was the child the teachers had to hold in a hug, while I went out the door, so Bug wouldn't chase after me.  After my first marriage, while I was on my honeymoon, Bug spent the majority of the week crying or being upset that I was gone.  As she got older she became less "clingy", but things didn't get easier.  Her anxiety causes her to be truly sick to her stomach.  The biggest cause of her anxiety now are Major life changes.  She has been seeing a therapist since she was seven.  I also admit that we use medication to help manage the anxiety.  Last year Bug decided she didn't want to take medication any more because she was doing very well, so I let her stop.  Pardon the express, but all hell broke lose.  She was having stomach problems much more frequently and the ODD was insane (and she was still in therapy).  After several months of this, Bug agreed the medication actually helped.  So we manage each day as it comes.

Before he was even born, ten years ago, Monkey was hyperactive. I'm positive he used my insides as his own personal jungle gym. As a baby, Monkey wasn't happy unless he was in motion. Once he was able to move on his own (crawling, walking/running) he didn't stop. He would climb anything he could hold onto. Thankfully he is also very coordinated and athletic. I didn't know much about how boys act, so I never knew my super active son was actually hyperactive. Kindergarten was the first time I thought maybe my son is more active than other boys. In school he would roll around the floor, be very fidgety, or look as if he wasn't paying any attention to his teacher. Monkey has been on medication since he was five. I've always insisted on the lowest dose that helps manage the ADHD. (He's been on the same dose for the past 3 years even though he's gained weight and grown.) We don't really see much of the ODD, accept in the morning and at night (times he's not on the meds) Monkey still is fidgety and he's definitely still very active. We also manage his ADHD with diet changes, lots of reminders, and trying to stay on a regular schedule.
My little Potato has always been oppositional and very distractable. With him it's a fight or a tantrum about everything. You say it's hot out, he says he's cold. Transitions often come with a tantrum, even with reminders given out. Simple tasks require repeated reminders, because he's gotten distracted. In school he's a crier if things don't go the way he wants/expects. We just recently had him tested and found that he's borderline ADD and extremely ODD. I decided that his ADD is manageable with out medication, by doing what we've been doing with him and his brother. I also got lots of helpful advice from the doctor on managing the ODD.


Here are some Tips and Tricks I've learned in the last thirteen years.
  • Routines - All kids need them. They definitely help our family. The kids know what is expected and it helps them feel like they have control.
  • Lots of Warnings - Let kids know when they will be moving from one activity to another. Example: Joey is playing with his trains. Parent "Joey in 5 minutes we will be eating dinner." then Parent "Joey in 3 minutes we will be eating dinner." then Parent "One minute we will be eating dinner." This lets the child know and helps them to remember.
  • Stand up - Fidgeting is just part of the territory. If my boys are having trouble sitting for dinner or homework time, I let them stand. The rule is if they're standing they Must stay at the table (No walking). This gives their body something to do and most of the time they stand mostly still.
  • Diet changes - There are lots of theories about different foods to help manage ADHD. The biggest diet change I've made with my kids is eliminating food dyes. I noticed a huge difference in (particularly Monkey) their hyperactivity level.
  • Unconditional Love - This is the biggest key to "managing" every day. Don't just tell your kids you love them, Show them how much they are loved. Hugs, snuggling, little notes in a lunchbox, reading together. Here are some more ideas.
  • Support groups - For your kids and you. Kids like to know they aren't the only one dealing with stuff. And for us parents it's great to have other parents to talk to and share ideas with.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit of our crazy life.

~Your Earthy Mom


  1. WOW, I have a 13 year old boy who has ADHD, I give you kudos for managing your 3 younguns! When my boy was younger (about 9 years ago) my mom was really sick (cancer) and passed away. That send him into anxiety and depression. His anxiety though I think boarded on OCD... and an slightly overactive imagination. He would see or hear of about something and obsess about it hurting people. About that time he starched his throat on a chip. So all food was going to hurt him. He lost 8 pounds in 1 1/2 months (a lot for a 5 year old). He was on a liquid diet. But even that we had to constantly let him know there was no poison or anything that was going to hurt him in there. We had to get his tonsils out (waking up from that is a whole other story!)
    If he seen a build or house blow up on tv. that was going to happen to every building he went in. We had to monitor very closely everything he watched on tv and movies. Anyway, play therapy helped him overcome the anxiety.

    Anyway, I don't mean to type your ears off. I just want to comment and ask what type of medication your boys are on? I had my boy on Clonodine for awhile, it was just for the hyperness though. Last year we tried Strettera out, not good!! out of a 5 day school week he would be able to go and stay 1 - 1 1/2 days. Very sick on that stuff! So I am always curious to see what other kids are on.

  2. Hey Tina. Sounds like you and your son have been throug alot. I take Statera for my ADD, it seems to help me focus. I don't however like the side effects if I miss a dose. Makes me groggy and unable to focus/function. I want to change, but am concerned about going off of it.
    My older son has been taking Concerta for the last several years. I can see the difference it makes in his concentration/distractablity level, and definately with his hyperactivity.
    I have chosen not to medicate my youngest son (for now). Of course that may change as life/school become more demanding.

    I wish you and your son the best of luck. I know it can be difficult, but he's lucky to have a mom, like you, who loves him and is doing everything you can to help him.

  3. I'm a new follower- found you on a page about Spirituality, and as I am always looking for fellow pagan mama bloggers, followed even before reading! LOL

    I too have a son w/ADHD and ODD. He's 16 now, no longer on meds and doing great. I do have a few things I wanted to suggest?, retell of our experiences. First when my son was on Aderol his ODD was worse- because one of the side effects is irrtability. The Dr. never put 2 and 2 together on that one- my mom a nurse had to clue us in. I warn others to watch for that because it was so bad with him and immediately after coming off it he was better. He was 14 at the time and we all talked and decided to try no meds. It's been a good 2 years.

    I have another younger son, who's 6 and one I always called my high needs kid. Always sreaming and always on. At 5 his ped finally gave us referal to a Developemental Ped. Who immeditately wanted to Dx ADHD and ODD- but in my gut that felt wrong. Then just a few months ago a friend introduced me to SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder)- after much research I am confident he was miss Dxed. I am current seeking other means of help for him and doing the things I've learned on my own and have seen amazing things happen with him. I wanted to throw it out there.

    But great post and blog! I can't wait to read more! Feel free to come check mine out!