Life Update

I‘m totally uninspired to write a deep reflective post about anything in particular in my life. We’re just going through the days. So here’s a random scattering of things going on in my life at the moment…

Freelance work has kept me pretty busy – not as busy as it was a few weeks ago (that much busy would have killed me if it kept up!) Still – it’s been hectic enough that eating healthy has taken a back seat. Many dinners have crept up before I could get a handle on things and we’d end up ordering out. Expensive and unhealthy. I finally broke down and signed my saturday morning away to make a bunch of meals through Dream Dinners. I was at first not looking forward to it – but it didn’t take long (about an hour and a half start to finish to prep 12 dinners) and now we have 3 meals a week for the next month ready to go. All relatively healthy (Well at least it’s better and cheaper than the takeout we’ve been getting!)

I’m still waiting on an evaluation to resolve the other issue I discussed. Just a little more info on it: Rachel’s grades have been terrible this year. It’s weird because she’s really very bright, her reading level is well above her grade level – but she has never done as well as I thought she could. But this year is by far the worst. I’m honestly wondering if they’ll let her move to 5th grade. Unfortunately I wasn’t aware of how bad it was until parent teacher conferences a few weeks ago. (Long story – but yeah, I was totally kept out of the loop and I’m REALLY pissed about it. At this point, really how much can we do to get her grades up??!!) Some things in particular that I’ve been seeing have really made me wonder about whether or not she has ADHD. (Not the hyperactivity – but the inattentive type) She’s extremely disorganized. She does really sloppy work and just rushes through it to get it done quick – so she makes a ton of careless mistakes. If you call her on it and make her go back, she’s often able to see her errors. Part of the reason for her bad grades is because she is constantly losing the papers she needs to work on or turn in. When I stand over her shoulder and make her do her homework, she doesn’t really fight me on it – but it is a bit of a struggle to keep her on task. It’s easier when I make lists for her for everything. Including what she needs to do to get ready in the morning – otherwise she’d forget really basic things like brushing her hair or teeth! (And my telling her to go and do it isn’t enough. It’s like if a bird flies by the window, she’s on another track and she won’t do what she was supposed to) Even the religious school teacher said she’ll call on Rachel in class when they’re having a class discussion and it’s like Rachel was checked out the whole time. So now I’m just waiting to see a specialist to have her evaluated. I hesitated to bring it up on the blog because I know there’s all sorts of hype about ADHD – how they’re “diagnosing all kids with it and just dumping drugs on them” or something. Or how people blame TV and video games for the rise in ADHD. (I think they recently proved that to have no effect anyway) I don’t want to hear about how if we change our eating habits and eat all whole foods, etc. how it will cure her. I have started giving her Omega-3 supplements – which I did see some reliable data on how it can improve kids with ADHD, but I’m not convinced that it’s having any kind of a noticeable impact. I’m going to keep it up because I still think it’s probably a good thing for the kids to have – but it’s not a cure for ADHD. All I want right now is a diagnosis. I don’t want to hear how she has to “try harder” and this is all her fault. The level of disorganization, and the level of how much she seems to have trouble with the work that involves a certain level of sustained mental effort – I really don’t think it’s her not trying. And to be honest, I’ve had my suspicions about her since Kindergarten – but of course no one would evalute her for ADHD then! I just want an evaluation, and then we’ll have a plan of action. Whether it be medication or not (I don’t think she’s severe so maybe it’s just a matter of therapy to help her) – I can’t get help until I know and have proof of what the problem is.

=deep breath=

Anyway – moving on… Passover really took a backseat this year. In the past, my parents have come out for some part of it and we’ve had a seder with them – but they couldn’t make it out this year. They do have a big seder at the new Synagogue we’re a part of now, but Zachary is such a spaz that I didn’t want to deal with bringing him. (And it would have had to be me and the kids alone, because Sam wouldn’t have been able to make it out of work in time for the seder).

Sam doesn’t really do the Easter thing with the exception of the candy. LOL! His mom sent the kids a big care package of chocolate and jelly beans – we were able to hold them off until today and now they’re all in a sugar coma.

Speaking of Sam – his job is really unstable right now. I have no idea how this year is going to play out, but it doesn’t look good. Oy.

Anyway – our plans for the day: we’re going to see that new animated movie “How to train a dragon”. (Speaking of movies, we finally got a babysitter and got out to see Avatar last week. Awesome movie!!! I’m so glad we were able to see it before it left the theaters. I’m definitely going to get the blu-ray of that when it comes out too.)

So about the babysitter – after the fiasco with the last babysitter (found out she was lying about a whole bunch of things and had basically “permanently borrowed” someone’s car. That someone showed up on OUR doorstep to collect said car from her… OY!!!) – we hadn’t been able to find anyone and I finally caved in and signed up for a membership with SitterCity.com. SO GLAD I did. We’ve now found this girl, she actually lives really close to us – maybe 2 minutes away, IF that. So far the kids haven’t scared her away yet and as far as we can tell she doesn’t seem to have any serious mental defects like the last one. LOL!

6 Comments

  1. Rachel
    Apr 7, 2010

    Sorry things are in such a whirlwind for you. If I could come on over and do the equivalent of holding your hand and helping you take a deep breath, I would :-)

    The whole ADHD stuff is frightening and overwhelming and all that. I’m not going to give you advice but I will share my experience as a teacher that there are definately many circumstances where medication is absolutely helpful.

    I hear your frustration about not knowing how hard things were until recently. I would have a lot of trouble with that.

    I know in my neck of the woods, there can be a six month or longer waiting list to get a child evaluated. I’ve heard that once the evaluation process starts, it is possible to be put on a “cancel list” or “as available” appointment which means the facility could call you the night before saying to bring her in the next morning, (but it is better than waiting six months). Hopefully you can get something in place for next school year.

    I am by no means a clinician, but the behaviors you describe do point to wanting to get her evaluated so that you can decide as a family what the next steps will be.

    Hang in there… be the wonderful mother you are and you will work through this.

  2. Jennifer
    Apr 7, 2010

    Yeah – I asked to be put on the cancellation list. Nothing’s opened up yet. :) It’s so hard. I mean, I have to keep on her, and make her accountable, but at the same time I don’t want to make her feel bad and feel like she’s a failure. (But the teacher isn’t helping me too much – I think she feels that Rachel just needs to “try harder” or that she’s just not capable of doing better. GRR!) She’s really smart. She deserves to succeed.

  3. Rachel
    Apr 7, 2010

    Ugh. I wish more people truly understood that things such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, etc. have absolutely nothing to do with effort or with intelligence. (I’m not saying that Rachel absolutely has ADD or anything but, if she does, then this teacher needs to demonstrate understanding.) Ive had students who honestly and sincerely report that they themselves with that they were more “in control” of organization, focus, etc. I hope you get the answers you seek soon.

  4. Christine
    Apr 11, 2010

    Ugh. I’m sure you might remember our struggles with all of this, but they really kicked in in about 4th grade, and have only gotten a bit better in the past year or two. (Basically, 8 years.) *sigh* It is hard on you – I know the feeling!

    If she is willing to deal with lists, we had a Junior High planner that I got from Franklin Covey that was excellent! It had a block for each class, and Jason had to write down homework from each class and get it initialed by each teacher while he developed the habit of doing it daily. The teachers were asked to correct it if he missed anything, and to write a “Call me” note or whatever on it as well if I needed to get in touch with them. Then he showed it to me daily when he got home, and worked from it to check things off to make sure he had them done. He did best with one of those binders that has a big expanding accordion pocket, one for each class, and keeping the papers in there – but it took us awhile of checking out different systems before we found one that worked for him.

    You see what she is going through so often with brilliant kids. It is too bad the schools don’t have good Academically Talented & Gifted classes like they used to, because they dealt with it so much better. Now it is like they expect everyone to learn the same way – and people aren’t like that. Everyone learns differently. (Sorry for the long novel here – just trying to think of what we did that helped!)

  5. Jennifer
    Apr 11, 2010

    Wow. Tonight I am going to hunt that planner down. If you happen to know which one that is – please send me a link. She does SO MUCH better with lists – and I think she actually LIKES them – because I think she sees that they help her. I did get her an expanding accordion folder and that has been an ENORMOUS help in helping her keep all her papers organized. It’s still a bit of a struggle to make sure she gets the papers FROM the folder TO her teacher, but at least they’re not getting consistently lost like they were before – so it’s an improvement. So that planner might be great.

    She’s still talking (seems like uncontrollably) in class – and she herself is asking to be seperated from the group so she can better focus and concentrate in class!! It’s so sad!! (The teacher was refusing before, but now I’m going to put my foot down and insist on it)

    One huge problem we’re having this year I think is the teacher herself is pretty disorganized. I’ve been asking for a list of what the kids are supposed to be turning in and when – and she keeps refusing to give me one. (??!) It’s like trying to follow a moving target. We only get notices AFTER the fact (after an assignment is past due) – and sometimes it’s for things that can’t be made up. I’ll be happy if we can just make it through this year and PASS – then we’ll be better organized and prepared for next year – and we’ll start the year off knowing exactly how to tackle everything from the get go (AND I’m going to insist from the school that we get a teacher that is more organized than this!!!)

  6. Jenn
    Apr 18, 2010

    Speaking from personal experience…I had ADHD when I was little. Diagnosed around the same age it sounds your daughter is. I truly had the “H” for “Hyperactivity” at the time. (I really miss that now!) I was medicated for it and my grades very much improved. I was able to stay focused longer on what was happening in the present instead of either losing interest quickly or being focused on “what great thing might happen next that is more fun than this one so I have to race through this.”

    It was tough for me to understand why I had to be medicated and none of my other friends had to take pills. I resented that and gave my parents a hard time for making me different by making me take medicine. I didn’t understand it at the time other than meds = better grades. What did I care?! I was too young to “get it”.

    I was told I would grow out of it when I hit puberty. I did lose the hyperactivity part and they took me off medication. However, to this day I still struggle a bit with living in the moment. It’s always about what I could be doing next and rushing through what I’m working on now but not anywhere near as bad. I can concentrate for much longer periods of time – especially when given deadlines. I’ve grown-up to be a successful business woman working in a corporate office raising a wonderful daughter of my own. So, even if she is diagnosed and you have to treat it with meds – just know she will still have all the opportunities like everyone else to be successful.

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