I came across this prayer online while looking for a starting post for this entry. I wish I had read this yesterday before I had my worst parenting moment ever. But first, let me backtrack.
A few long weeks ago, spurred by a wave of bad behavior reports at school, we took our son to a behavioral therapist and he was diagnosed with functional ADHD. He is so bright, he functions at school achieving good grades with minimal effort, but he is very impulsive, often not thinking before he does something silly. Neither his therapist or us feel the need to medicate him. Rather, we have started an elimination diet removing dyes and preservatives, along with Omega 3 supplements and St. John's Wort. (Seeing some of the same symptoms, albeit less intense, in our five year old, we've changed her diet likewise.) It's only been a few weeks, but the DH and I have seen an improvement at home with his teacher seeing some improvement at school. It is a work in progress.
Last Saturday, the kids spent the day with their godparents. They went to a movie where they were showered with all the movie snacks their little hearts desired. Forgetting their training of politely declining what we've labeled "bad foods", they ate them up and we've been paying for it since.
This was not Stinky's best week at school. According to his teacher, he was fine in the classroom when he was constantly working but lining up in the hallway for bathroom breaks and resisting the urge to react when provoked by another student became damned near impossible for him. Yesterday, I went to have lunch with him to show him my love and support. For 25 minutes I witnessed this obnoxious kid next to him repeatedly burp in Stinky's face. In spite of me asking Stinky to ignore said brat, he thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. So I asked the kid to stop. He did for five minutes, then proceeded to begin anew. (Stinky's teacher was not close enough to see this.) All riled up from this disgusting display of first-grader-grossness, the class lines up to head back to the room. Same brat and Stinky are wispering and giggling when Stinky is sent to the back of the line. (Brat is a fellow teacher's kid so is Teflon coated to my consternation.) Stinky is placed behind a little girl who had to sit at the silent table at lunch for misbehaving previously. She intentionally started slowing down in line for whatever reason she was protesting (btw, I have never seen this little girl in a cooperative mood). It was only a matter of time before Stinky lost his patience and shoved her to move faster. I watched as long as I could but when they were out of view, I could imagine what happened next.
I went back to work fuming. I knew I wanted to talk to the teacher about Stinky's lack of self-control, but figuring out how to do that without offending her and making her realize I do hold Stinky accountable for his actions, but given his recent diagnosis, give the kid a friggin' break, is clearly not my strong suit. The DH who is more genteel in these situations is out of town so doing so would be up to me. I was also upset with Stinky for not realizing that he shouldn't allow himself to be placed in these situations. He doesn't have to be the leader of the group, but for goodness sakes, use your brain!!!
Lucky for me (and yes I am being sarcastic), parent / teacher conferences were yesterday after school. I listened to Stinky's teacher go on about his academic performance, then she pulled out a sticky with notes about three infractions that day, ending with him pushing his female classmate who was backing up into him. No surprise there. I told her what I witnessed, trying my best not to throw blame, but pleading with her that my child is being hyped up by his classmates then does not know how to reel it in. His equally obnoxious classmates seem to go unpunished, but my star student is sent to the office repeatedly, has notes placed on his file and I get calls everyday about something I think his teacher should be able to handle in the classroom. Crikey! We had a good rapport but I still don't think she gets it.
When I get the kids home, I let them play outside (per the recommendation that ADHD kids need at least an hour of outside play a day, which they are not getting at school, even on pretty days), even tossing a football with Stinky while I talk to him about exercising more self-control. I go inside to start dinner, and within 5 minutes Blinky is balling because Stinky threw rocks at her. This scream fest went on for about a half hour before she would let me calm her down. (I didn't think the bad foods from Saturday had affected her until this happened.) Already frustrated with Stinky, on edge from Blinky's blood-curdling screams, I was so grateful a few hours later that the only thing between the kids and bedtime was Stinky brushing. While tucking Blinky in, Stinky comes into her bedroom saying he feels like he has to vomit. And he does, right on Blinky's carpet. I yelled at him to go to the bathroom, racing behind him, but was too late. He projectile vomited all over the walls, floor, cabinet, top of the toilet, everywhere but in the toilet. I became unglued grabbing his soiled clothes off him and screaming at him to go into the kitchen so I can get his just swallowed pill (via applecause) and supplements again. No sooner I had mixed the applesauce and gone back to tackle the bathroom, he shouts out that the applesauce spilled: blinds, floor, cabinet. I started barking / crying orders, the kids start crying and we are all just one hot mess. The kids wanted Daddy and truth be told, I wanted him then too.
Thirty minutes later after the three of us had a good cry, all for different reasons, I apologize to my children letting them know that I lost my self-control and would never let that happen again. Yes, I see the irony in this. We prayed together and they shower me with hugs and advice, the best from my five year old daughter who reminds me to remember when I am happy, like in our pictures and think about that when I want to get angry.
After getting them in bed, I call the DH and have another good long cry about what a horrible Mom I was and how I've screwed up our kids for eternity. He said all the things I needed to hear and assures me everything will be fine in the morning. I am less certain and check on the kids every hour, kissing them goodnight over and over again. I even found a little note my daughter left for me telling me how much she loves me. Cue the crying.
Through the night, Blinky has a nightmare. I run to soothe her, later feeling a second set of little arms around me. Stinky also heard and came to check on her too. How sweet. Hard to believe eight hours earlier he was throwing rocks at her. But I digress.
I wake this morning not sure what to expect. Blinky is easy to wake, loving the note I left for her also telling her I love her and is all hugs and smiles. Stinky is not so easy to wake, didn't really care about the note I left him, and asked me to check him out early as he didn't think he's behave well enough to clip up to earn Friday fun time. In his opinion, if he can't have Friday fun time, it's not worth staying at school. At least he wasn't hung up on last night.
Anyway, back to the prayer. Had I seen this prayer yesterday before I exploded, I would have tried and corrected my behavior, using the same tips I try to drill into my children. Sometimes as Moms we do get overwhelmed, but God gives us the awesome responsibility to raise these little people, who learn more from our actions than they do our words. There is still guilt this morning, but I am encouraged, especially by my little's girl's words that everything is going to be ok. I pray God helps me to remember what happened last night in order to never let it happen again.