Friday, January 9, 2015

Magic memories

I had a dream that Chris and I were at a huge festival/picnic that was going on in my Aunt Shawn's yard. I was competing in a steak hoagie eating contest with my Grandpa Bertelli who left us over 8 years ago.

We were sitting on an old wooden picnic table and it was a perfect sunny summer day. The grass was thick, the sun was warm, and the breeze was perfect. Grandpa B was younger, the way I remember him when I was a little girl and he would let me dress up his hair with all of Grandma Bertelli's bobbi pins. But, his laugh and his smile were the same. Grandpa always had a little mischievous twinkle when he would lean forward with an ear to ear grin to whisper a little taunt. On the weekends I spent with them, grandpa would crawl into bed to poke and tease me until I would angrily wake up and stomp down to the kitchen. Grandma would make us polenta with butter and syrup for breakfast while Grandpa would have his fun 'poking the bear'. It was always the same play. He would try to talk to me and I would grunt my disapproval. He would smile and lean across the table at me and call me a peabrain and stick out his tongue. This, without fail, always improved my grumpy mood. We would go back and forth thinking of names to call each other. Some of his were in Italian. Some of mine were in pig Latin and he would pretend he couldn't understand my secret language just like I couldn't understand his. This would drive grandma crazy and we would both be in trouble, but we would still do it anyway.

The entire dream consisted of Grandpa and I joking, name calling and laughing and trying to eat more than the other until the end. An old classmate, Jacob, that recently passed away walked up the the table. I wasn't really friends with him in school and only saw of his passing from others on Facebook. In my dream, I was surprised that he was at the picnic since he lived out of town. He never spoke but just sat down and kept smiling. Then he started scooting over towards me and pushed me off of my bench and I woke up.

I woke up and laid in bed remembering grandpa and wondered if maybe, just maybe, I really got to visit with his soul and have one more silly moment. Did the classmate bring him to me? Was grandpa showing him the ropes and that's why he was laughing? I'm just grateful for the incredibly vivid dream and now that I've written it out I can revisit it any time I choose.

And now I am rolling over and going back to sleep with a smile and the whisper of the word peabrain still echoing in the distance. 

Me, Grandpa, and my sister Jamie. 98/99 ish on Christmas Eve.
Grandpa holding my oldest son. This would be my only child that would get the privilege of meeting him, even if it were only for 2 years.

Monday, September 30, 2013

ADHD Medication anxiety

I struggle between the doctors (and people all around) telling me to keep Devin on medication in the summer, but wanting time for him to just be him. I want him to know himself and know what it feels like to be himself. I don’t want him to be medicated forever. And, I don’t want him to not like who he is or how it feels to be himself.

So, this summer we went off the meds (again and against medical advice). I loved it (for the most part). While we were at home, Devin was Devin. Sure, he’s obnoxious and needs to have 50 million reminders, usually very loud reminders too. But, he was himself.  The problem was when Devin wasn’t with me. At his summer program, at his grandma’s, at his aunt’s. He had problems dealing with other children and dealing with authority. He’s fine when he is one on one, but not when he has to deal with his peers in a group setting, be it small or large.

By the end of summer I was near a full out mental breakdown if someone had to call me one more time because they couldn’t or didn’t want to deal with my child. I felt like I had let him down, a failure of a parent. It didn’t help that my younger two decided that they wanted to follow suit and try to raise holy hell like big brother.

We made our end of summer appointment and got our prescription to start the step up process to his medicine. It’s always so heart breaking to put him back on his medicine. The side effects are difficult. Fatigue, drowsiness, stomach aches, headaches, increased appetites. These are all magnified times 5 during the first week. He’s like a zombie shell of a child and it always makes me angry at the world that I have to drug my kid because others don’t know how to deal with him. The logical part of me knows that is not entirely true. He needs to be able to focus, have functional social skills, and receive decent grades in school.

He adjusted well and we were into our third week of school. Devin had bounced back from the initial shocks of the medication. We went to our check up with his psych and she asked how school was going. Devin told her that he was having a hard time focusing after lunch time. The psych recommended that we switch medications. Devin has been on the same medication for two years. We have never tried anything else. The thought of it terrifies me. I tell her that we aren’t quite ready for that move, and I honestly thought we were ok with the current medication and dose. She suggests we could at least increase his dosage. I agree and tell her that we will try it.

We are 7 days in. My kid isn’t right. It usually takes about a week for his body to regulate itself to the new meds. This morning he had a hard time waking. Then he didn’t want to get up because his head and stomach hurt. He’s napped, moped, and stared aimlessly at walls this week. I also received a note from his teacher letting me know that Devin was falling asleep in class even when she repeatedly woke him up. He did start to perk up towards the end of the week and was playing and running towards the end of the week, but he still isn’t fully himself.

I miss him. I want my son to be my son. I don’t want a shell for a son. It breaks my heart.

I dropped him off at school this morning and our routine was the same as always. We drop off his brothers then head to his school. We pull up, he leans over and gives me a big hug, we say our ‘I love you’s’, he gets out and walks into school.

Maybe it’s my own anxiety, but it just seems like he’s carrying so much weight on his little nine year old shoulders. The way he keeps pushing on. He knows he’s run down. I ask him every day if he thinks it is worth it. He still does. He says that he gets too nervous without the medication because he knows he will do something that gets him in trouble.

This morning he hugged me a little harder. said I love you three times, and turned back to make eye contact three times. I know it’s hard on him. Days like these are heavy. I can’t carry the weight for him. The older he gets the heavier his load. And the older he gets, he must carry more of the load himself rather than me carrying it for him. I can only walk beside him and try to tell him how to wear it to make it lighter, to encourage him when he gets weak, and to love him in any and all forms that he may be in. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Self worth, self accountability, self motivation

I'm doing a Jennie overhaul and I've decided to reboot the blog and take it on the adventure with me.

I've always joked that I'm the ADHD poster child, but I've had a very rude reawakening and affirmation to that.

While I am extremely productive at work, I seriously lack at home. My house is a continuous mess, laundry always needs put away, I misplace or forget important things, phone calls go unreturned, mail doesn't go in the mailbox....hell, I'm lucky if I remember mail at all.

Chris used the word 'disappointing' to describe me the other day.


Yes, it still packs the same gut punch from childhood. Nothing was worse than the "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed."

What an awakening. 

After days of panic and feelings of inadequacy and being overwhelmed, I picked a few checklists that were simple but still detailed. I have the lists at home and I love them. I'm a list lover. Nothing feels better than checking something off. I also started a journal to keep myself accountable.

Here I am world. I kind of suck, but I'm going to give it an honest to goodness try. 


Here is my first checklist. I was able to add a few things on. I love that one entire month is on one page. Switches lists out weekly would probably turn in to a task in itself.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Random saved posts never posted, now posted

Sometimes we get caught up in rushing to get everything that has to be done done. We rush to relax before we rush off to sleep so that we can get up and start rushing out of bed to rush the kids off to school and rush to work. Repeat rush repeat rush repeat rush repeat rush.

Then we stop to smell the roses. Or in my case, the cherry coke and whipped vodka.

It had been one of those all rush weeks where everything had left me with a tic and a twitch.


Is there a line that can be drawn between your career and your life? Can the two exist without one affecting the other? I'm not talking about the financial aspects of it. We all know that you have to have money in order to live.

We have really been boring lately. Not too many funny stories to report on. Chris is working on finishing the basement and me and the boys have been getting back in to the work/school routine.

Here's a run down of our latest funny conversations:

Me: "Boys! Aunt Suzie is taking you to the movies. Do you want to see Puss in Boots 3D or (something else I can't remember)?
Nuby and Peyton (yelling and jumping up and down): "PUSSY BOOTS! PUSSY BOOTS!

Devin: Can we take turns doing my homework? My hands are tired.
Me: No, I have my work to do and you have your work to do.
Devin: But, you are faster than me.
Me: All you have to do is finish your homework and it's done. I have to fold never ending laundry because you guys want to wear clothes every day of your life.
Devin: I make your job easier cause sometimes I wear my underwear for 2 days. Now you should have to help me.

Me: I'm different. I'm not a Jennifer or a Jenny with a Y. I'm Jennie with an I-E.
Coworker: .....with an IEP.
Me: (I turn to face my usual smiling-happy-go-lucky co-worker)
Coworker: (Staring at me with a stone-faced-caught-in-the-headlights look)
Coworker: I can't believe that came out.
Me: (Still cracking up) What else is roaming around in your head just waiting to get out? On second thought....keep them there!
(Everyone is always joking about how the things that drive me crazy with Devin are the things that I do also. So, this made it all the funnier. It was in no way meant to be a dive at anyone with an IEP. I'm very open about my wierd quirks and issues. If there were an adult IWorkP. I'd be first on the list.)

Me: Ok. Let's take a look and see about your EITC.
Client: Alrighty.
Me: Great! You'll be getting back X dollars in the Earned Income Crack Credit.
Client: Crack? (laughing) I knew the government was getting shadier these days.

Me: (talking to the tv) Dirty hoe.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What the bug?!

Run! It's...It's...the FLU!!!!! And, I pretty much just want to be gross and disgusting today....and maybe make you throw up a little in your mouth. Don't you just love kids?

Three weeks ago the weather took a turn for the better. The grey skies, flurries, frosts and chilly blusters turned into birds chirping, flowers blooming, 80 degree weather. While this is great for yardwork, it also turns little children who have been cooped up all winter into raving lunatics. Such behavior will land you in your room on punishment.

Which leads us into the second day of wondrous weather. Day two brought behaviors that landed Devin in his room. Devin being in his room brings on all kinds of ailments and excuses of why he should be allowed out of his room which are met with loud protests of stomping, crying, and "This is the most not fair house in the whole world" type mumbling.

Since the day was so great, we were doing yard work which just so happened to be right below Devin's window. Every time that Chris would walk away the window would crack open and he would call out to me with different requests: I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, I'm lonely, Can I have the dog, and finally my belly hurts. All of these are his usual grounded-to-his-room requests so I met each one with the usual: Get a drink, Get a snack, Sorry about your luck, Yes, No, and Go Poop.

After an hour and a half he wouldn't give up on the belly hurting so I went up to sit with him. Devin can be quite the drama queen so sometimes it's hard to tell when he wants attention and when something is really bothering him. He was now laying on his back in the birthing position doing some lamaaz type breathing while I stared at him with a raised brow. Finally after trying to poo twice, he up-chucked and sacrificed his contents to the sewage gods. This continued for 4 hours. Each time as dramatic as the first.

Fast forward two days. We drive one and a half hours to meet my mom. After a long day at work/school and then hopping in the car to drive we were all half starved by the time we arrived. I had to wake up Peyton when we got there. I didn't think much of it since he sleeps wierd hours and falls asleep in the car all the time. We had a party of 9 so while we were waiting to be seated,  I did my usual routine of making all three boys empty bladders. While coming out of the bathroom I noticed Peyton rubbing something off his hands and thought, "Where did he get that hand sanitizer from?", only to realize that it wasn't hand sanitizer but vomit. This continued for the next 6 hours.

Fast forward two more days. Nuby was shuffling his feet and taking his good old time getting ready for school. I caught him just staring at himself in the mirror holding his toothbrush after telling him to hurry three times. Finally he tells me that his belly hurts.


I tell him that his belly shouldn't hurt because nobody is sick. He looks at me, leans over, and starts splattering vomit all over my floor.

Now, don't get me wrong. I work with kids and vomit usually doesn't bother me. But, by this time I had had enough. While I was whipping Nuby off the floor to redirect his stream, my foot slipped in the puddle. Warm vomit on my foot mixed with the smell was too much. I was dry heaving right along with my poor guy.

I leave for work and by the time I had come home Chris was throwing up. The next day I was sick, Chris' brother was sick and my nephew had to be picked up from school.

It had been two weeks since that nasty bug reared its head and then........

Peyton threw up this morning. I gave him a quick clean up, threw clothes on him and yelled to Chris as I was throwing on my shoes that he needed to wake up and clean up the mess.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This one is for you...

Devin has now seen countless people for tests and evaluations. We've run from one side of town to the other and have done everything from reciting the ABC's to getting EKG's. All of this for....ADHD and sensory integration disorder.

It is exhausting.

Since being a little girl, all of my career related dreams were always with high maintenance kids. I wanted to be a guidance counselor, a teacher, a social worker, a missionairy (hahahaha)...the list goes on and on. As it turned out, I wound up working with a program that serviced various groups of children and it took less than one year before they moved me with the inner city group. I LOVED it. I loved working with the kids that were misunderstood. I loved the ones that nobody else wanted. I loved the ones that people called bad or hopeless. Every child has the potential. Some may be broken and need some mending. But, they all have it. They need faith and that's what I was good at. Seeing the potential and helping them figure out how to release it.

Working with kids is not where it stops. Or at least that is what I've always been told and what I tell my staff. We don't just work with children. We work with the family. One of my BIGGEST rules is that if you have to tell a parent something negative about their child, you sandwich it with two positive things. You never know what is going on in their lives and how many people have come before you to 'talk' to them about their child.

All of this leads me to now. I have a new found respect for those parents. Those parents aren't just 'them' anymore....they are now included into a 'we'.

I am one of them. My child is not typical. I never thought that I would one day be on the other side of the fence but am greatful that I had the opportunity to get to know and learn from them for my own sake. I never thought that ADHD could cause so much turmoil in a childcare setting, in a family, in friendships. It affects his whole life, mine and Chris' and his brothers. And, it's not always easy. It's not easy for him. It's not easy to watch him struggle with making or keeping friends. Or struggle to keep up with his peers. It's not easy to watch him not be able to make choices like he 'should' or be responsible like he 'should'. It's not always easy for me to listen to other parents talk about how 'perfect' their children are even if I am truly happy for them.

Things could be far worse. Devin is healthy and happy but he has severe ADHD which does not allow him to function as a typical child during the school days or keep up academically. Mix that with some sensory integration disorder and he's all over the place.

I can deal with the academics. He has private tutors and we're putting some accomodations in to assist him throughout the day. He's not learning at the pace of everybody else, but he is learning. And he keeps steadily pushing forward.

But, here's the difficult part.....

People. People have been the biggest hurdle. And not just any people...but the people that I thought were supposed to be like me. The people that were supposed to see the good in my child. The people that were supposed to provide me with a shoulder to lean on and some wise words of advise. But, time and time again...that didn't happen.

People. People that you think love your child...or have their best interest...don't.

People. People who have no patience and don't understand why he doesn't just 'act right'.

People. People that want to tell you everything that you are doing wrong because they think that the parenting MUST be the problem.

People. People who treat your child differently or say thoughtless things to them. People who give them the look.

People People People People.

Sometimes good people are shitty. That's my new inspirational quote. Everybody messes up. Nobody is perfect. And at some point or another we are all shitty human beings. Some without realizing it until after and some just outright.

But, I have learned. I have learned from Devin. I have learned from myself. I have learned from people.

So, this one is for YOU...

This one is for the ones who have stood by and given me words of encouragement. You have helped me keep faith in myself and my child when others were stripping it away.

This one is for the ones who didn't have faith. Once I was able to see through the fog you have given me the will and courage to not give up.

This one is for the family members who have listened to me cry and helped me by just listening and then allowing me to talk through it by laughing about Devin-isms.

This one is for the adults who should have helped my child but instead humiliated him. You have given him an early glimpse into a world that isn't fair. You've stripped some innocence away that can't be regained. In return, he has gained empathy and can relate to the underdog.

This one is for the few that will dare to come and spend time with him. It isn't easy but he loves going places. And it gives him a break from the day to day things that start to build up.

This one is for you....

It doesn't matter if you were the encourager, the discourager or the one who didn't want to intervene because this wasn't your problem.

This one is for all of you...without the good, the bad and the ugly. We wouldn't have the zest to get to where we're going. Devin will be alright. He'll make friends. He'll one day be a productive man who will remember what it was like to be an awkward child. And hopefully he'll be all the better for it.

Thank you. All of you.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Excuse me, Can I lick your pink eye?

Why am I never sick? Most people would think this is great, but it's really a curse. I'm cursed to take care of sick people. I'm cursed to never have homemade soups and hot tea. I'm cursed to never be able to lay all snug in cozy blankies on the couch with a never ending stream of tasteless reality shows on tv.

I did catch an 8 hour bug from the boys last year. But, it wasn't severe enough to put me out of commission for the entire day. Come on, flu. That's all you got?

Sinus infections...psssssh. That's not a couchable illness. Nobody looks at you with a blown out sinus filled face and says, "You'd better go home and let somebody take care of you".

I once had kidney stones. That was pretty bad. I had an extremely high fever and wasn't able to straighten myself from the intense pain. I was delirious on the couch under a mound of coats and whatever else I was able to reach, croacking out for water and sinking back into fever induced sleep.


I want that back.

I want to lay on the couch for an entire day while Chris does everything. I want him to make me food, bring me food and clean up my food. I want to be the remote holder and watch every episode of Sister Wives. I want him to have to tend to 3 boys who have bottomless bellies, always wanting a snack or something to drink. I want him to do bath time and bed time and bed time and bed time and bed time and bed time (for my vampire children who don't sleep).

If anybody has any good communicable diseases, send me a vile of your spit!