How many of you are so sick and tired of this pandemic? I know I sure am. I will not say everything about the pandemic has been horrible. In the beginning, I enjoyed how slow life became. I loved all the canceled activities and us being able to be home as a family. We were able to spend a lot of quality time together.
But, the pandemic wasn’t all fun and games for our family. We had our struggles. Online schooling was brutal. Some days it would take my oldest son five or six hours a day to do his school work. There were lots of tears from my daughter, who was in third grade. My preschooler did pretty well, but somedays, it was hard to get her to sit in front of the computer.
My third grader is the one that struggled the most with everything. She did well at first; she got up and did her homework without question. After a couple of weeks, she started to regress. Her birthday is in April, and she had a hard with her birthday because we were stuck home. We couldn’t plan a party or do much of anything. It was a little underwhelming. I tried my best to make it a good day, but it was still hard for her. The day after her birthday, she came into my room at bedtime and started crying. She said she wanted everything to go back to normal. That night she laid by me and cried herself to sleep. That is when I knew we had a big problem that we needed to address.
I knew she was having a hard time; there were signs. She is a social butterfly and thrives on going to school and seeing her friends daily. She made a couple of comments that she missed being with her friends. The biggest thing is that she started sucking her thumb again. She sucked her thumb when she was a baby and hadn’t sucked it for years. It was a little bizarre that she would start sucking her thumb again. She wanted us to lay with her at night until she fell asleep. It became exhausting because some nights, she would take a long time to fall asleep.
I knew that night she came into our room crying and that we needed to take action quickly before it became worse. The next day we contacted her school counselor. We were able to set up online sessions with him every week. He gave us a lot of ideas on how we could help her.
Two strategies helped her. The first strategy that helped was having a worry box. She got a shoebox and had to decorate it any way she wanted. After decorating it, her counselor told her it would be her worry box. She would have to write anything she was worried about on a piece of paper and put it in her worry box. Writing her worries down and putting them into her worry box helped her a great deal. Once she gave her worries to the worry box, she wouldn’t worry about them anymore.
The second strategy we used a lot for her anxiety was “Count 5”. When she had anxiety, she would use Count 5. Here is how it works. First, you count five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Once she did this, it would help her relax. Like I said before, we used this one quite a bit. Count 5 is the one strategy that helped her the most.
Meeting with the counselor helped a great deal. She eventually stopped sucking her thumb, and she was able to fall asleep on her own. We met with the counselor weekly until school got out for the summer. She still struggled through the summer. In our town, we could go back to in-person school in the fall. Once she went back to school full time, she improved significantly. When she was able to be back with her friends, she completely changed. It was amazing to watch her transform once she was able to go back to school.
I am grateful that we had the resource of the school counselor. If we didn’t, I think things could have turned out differently. Even though she has improved dramatically, she is still not the same girl from before the pandemic started. We still have times when her anxiety and fear take over. But now that I know she can suffer from depression and anxiety, I will always keep a close eye on her.
This past year my daughter and I were asked to join a neighborhood book club for mothers and daughters. I was initially hesitant because we didn’t have the time to add something else to our schedule. I am not the fastest reader either, so I wasn’t sure if we would finish the books we needed to read in time each month or not. In the end, though, we decided to join. I am so happy that we did. It has been such a wonderful bonding experience for us.
Our book club includes girls ages 7 thru 11. Both of my daughters are in that age group. They are both welcome to the club, but my 7-year-old isn’t always interested; however, my 11-year-old is eager to meet and discuss what we’ve read.
Each month we are assigned a book. Whichever mother and daughter host the book club for the month, will pick out the book. They also pick the evening that we will get together to discuss the book. When we go to our book club, the girls will run the discussion with a bit of help from their mom. The girls will come up with questions we will answer or discuss. When we have finished the conversation, we have treats or dessert. It isn’t very long, only about an hour or so. But it works because the girls at that age don’t have a very long attention span.
In our book club, some mothers like to read the book separately from their daughters. A few will also listen to it in the car with an audiobook. I like to sit down at night and read aloud to my daughters. Reading aloud makes it fun for all of us as we can talk about what we just read. I feel like we can bond more with each other this way.
If both your daughter and you like to read I suggest starting a book club with your daughters and their friends and moms. Joining this book club with my daughters has helped our relationship, especially with my older daughter. It might surprise you how fun it can actually be.
I’m also always looking for new books or things we can do at our book club! I would love to hear from you about what you’ve found that works well and what books you’ve read! Leave a comment below and let me know!
Summer break is here! For parents like me, it’s a love/hate relationship with summer! I love to be at home, but I know it is essential for the kids to get out and have fun. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little nervous about what I will do to entertain the kids for three months in the summer. I worry they won’t have enough activities, or I won’t be able to do enough to keep them entertained.
The thing I like to do most, and one way my family survives summer break, is with a summer activities poster. What is a summer activities poster, you might ask? It is so simple; it is a large poster with all the fun ideas and activities written on it that we want to accomplish during the summer. As we do an activity, we cross it off, and when we need something to entertain us, we look at the poster and choose one of the activities we have yet to do.
To create a summer activities poster, you need three things:
- One large poster board
- A lot of colorful markers (we prefer to use colored Sharpies)
- Fun and silly stickers
When we create our summer activities poster, we first decorate the poster with a heading written all fancy and crazy! We like to have fun with this. We’ll put things like “Our Awesome and Amazing Summer Activities” or “2022 Summer Of Fun!” Then we’ll add some stickers to it! The kids go crazy with this one! Once we’ve got our heading on the poster, and it’s got stickers on it, we write as many ideas as we can think of on the poster. I recommend you put as many activities on it as possible! We try to come up with enough ideas to fill the poster and leave very little open or white space. The ideas can be as straightforward or as extensive as you wish. It is up to you. I recommend putting a little square in front of the activity, so you can put a sticker on it to check it off when you have completed it. And then have fun and aim to complete all the activities on the poster before returning to school.
Simple Ideas for Your Summer Activities Poster
- Check out books at the library
- Join a summer reading program
- Make homemade ice cream
- Watch a new movie
- Sleep outside on the trampoline
- Make a new and delicious summer treat
- Go hiking and explore
- Go to the local swimming pool
- Complete a sewing project
- Go on a bike ride as a family
Extensive Ideas for Your Summer Activities Poster
- Go on a family vacation
- Go on an overnight campout as a family
- Take a day trip to a big city
- Have a sleepover at grandma’s and grandpa’s house
- Stay in a local hotel overnight and go swimming in the pool
There are no right or wrong ideas that you can put on your poster. Just have fun and make sure you get the kids involved. Their opinion matters the most; to be honest, sometimes they have the best ideas!
I hope you have a happy summer, and good luck completing your summer activities poster.
When my son was about eight years old, he was diagnosed with ADHD inattentive type. For those that don’t know what this means, I will try and explain and help you understand.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) inattentive type means you have a hard time staying focused on tasks, struggle to pay attention to details, get distracted easily, have a hard time staying organized, and even with a routine will still forget things. Hyperactivity is very minimal.
Those who have ADHD inattentive type have a hard time staying focused on what they’re doing. For instance, my son has a hard time staying focused on anything for very long.
The inability to remain focused on schoolwork, tasks, or long-term projects is another symptom of inattentive ADHD. This trouble with focus is most easily observed in a classroom, during playtime, or at recess, as these children present difficulty committing to an activity for any significant amount of time.
His biggest challenge is that he is unable to stay focused at school and will often forget the simplest things such as what his homework is that day, or to turn in an assignment that is due, or you’d be shocked about how many times he has forgotten to put his name on his assignments when he turns it in.
Paying Attention to Details
Paying attention to details can be a problem at school. My son’s teachers can tell him things, and he forgets everything his teachers have said. He will miss assignments or turn something in late because he didn’t pay attention to when the assignment was due.
A child with inattentive ADHD may not pay careful attention to classroom assignments or household chores. Accordingly, a lack of attention to detail can be classified as a symptom if the child displays consistent careless mistakes or almost never completes a task thoroughly.
Getting distracted easily is one of the areas that I notice a great deal at home. I will ask him to take something downstairs and come back, and he never comes back. He will take the item downstairs and not even put it away where I ask, and then he gets distracted doing something else and doesn’t come back. I will ask him to shower, and he gets distracted and forgets to even get in the shower. Just like when he was younger, I had to ask him to do one thing at a time.
A child with inattentive ADHD frequently becomes distracted, even during tasks that are typically enjoyed. This behavior is often most noticeable when the child is telling a story, playing with friends, or watching TV and movies.
This area is a big one. My son His room is constantly a mess. My son cannot keep anything organized, and I mean anything. Over the years, we have realized that he can only have minimal things in his room, or it gets incredibly messy. This also affects him at school. He cannot organize all of his papers and assignments. We, as his parents, have to work very closely with his teachers to keep him organized.
Having a Schedule
Having a schedule and a routine is very important to us. Even though we try and have a routine for my son, it doesn’t always work to keep on task. It does most of the time, but he can still get distracted even when he is doing his routine.
That explains most of the primary areas in which my son has struggled.
Should you medicate your child for ADHD? That’s the big question. I want to tell you about my experience and share the decision we made on whether or not we should medicate our son for his ADHD.
Before I get started, I want to remind you that I am not a doctor. I have no medical background. I am just a mom with a child with ADHD that wants to share my experience with medicating our child for ADHD.
First, I know that medicating your child with ADHD is controversial. I only want to share what we did as a family and our experiences.
We met with an ADHD specialist once my son was diagnosed with ADHD. We talked in-depth about what the best action for our son would be. Our specialist helped inform us about the different types of medication and the effects and side effects of the medicine. He also educated us on what we could continue to expect if we chose not to medicate our son. The specialist left it entirely up to us as parents, and In the end, we decided the best path for us was to medicate our son.
We thought long and hard about what to do. We did our research at home. We wanted to give our son the best chance, both at school and at home. For us, that best chance was to medicate him. Understand, there wasn’t anything we viewed as negative about our son. He is brilliant, has a curious mind, and would often hyper-focus on various things. At school, he struggled, and it was difficult for him to make it through an entire day in class. His mind would start to wander, and he’d quickly lose track of what he needed to be doing. He also struggled to remember assignments and homework that needed to be done. We knew that medication would help our son in these things, and in my mind, if there was something that could help my son be successful, then I was going to do it.
My son started taking medication for his ADHD in the second grade. He began with a low-dose extended-release tablet. We chose this strategy so that he wouldn’t have to retake his medicine during the day at school. It allowed him to get through his day at school and continue being able to focus until the early/late evening, for about 10-12 hours in total. It took us about three or four different medicines to find one that fit him. We found one that worked and one that he said helped him focus and that he felt comfortable taking. We relied a lot on his opinion on the medicine too. We would often ask him how he felt when he was on the medication and ask whether or not he could tell the difference after taking the medication.
He was on this lower dose extended-release medication for all of his elementary schooling and part of middle schooling. Once he returned to school after Covid, we changed the dose to be higher. At that time, it felt like the medication wasn’t lasting as long, and he couldn’t focus as clearly as he had been before. He has now been on a higher dose of medicine for two years.
How Did We Know to Change the Dose?
I often ask my son how he is feeling about his medication. We will ask how he is doing and whether or not he thinks his medication is still helping, and whether or not he feels he is still able to focus and is doing well on it. That communication has been essential for us as we continue to monitor and help our son. He tells me if he feels fine on it or can’t focus anymore while he is on it. Also, when we go to the doctor, his doctor asks him lots of questions about his medication. We’re always trying to make sure we have the correct dosage and whether or not any severe side effects would cause us to adjust his medication.
Allowing Our Son to Choose When to Take Medication
My son can choose when he wants to take his medication. He can decide not to take it on the weekends or in the summer, often choosing not to. He always takes it if he has school or something significant and needs to be able to focus, such as going to a marching band competition. He’s in the drumline and loves it!
I can tell the days that he doesn’t take his medicine. He is more unorganized when not medicated. He can’t follow directions easily. He also can be very, very talkative. He can only stay focused for short about of time. He is much calmer when he is on it, and he can stay focused for more extended periods. He can follow directions. It helps him to be able to get his homework done.
Our Son’s Side Effects From the Medication
As everyone knows, often, medicine has side effects. They can be minor, as often is the case with ADHD, but with our son, there are two side effects that we watch closely.
The first side effect is that my son doesn’t have much appetite when he is on his medication. His appetite is the most significant concern for us with his medication. Our concern doubles because of his tactile defensiveness, which ends up being a huge problem. If you have read my posts about his tactile defensiveness (A Mother’s Experience With Tactile Defensiveness), you know that he already struggles with eating. Then to add to it, he doesn’t have an appetite, which makes it even worse. We constantly have to force him to eat. We also always watch his weight to make sure he is gaining weight. When he maintains or starts to lose weight, we bring it up with the doctor to discuss if we need to change his medication.
The second side effect is that my son has difficulty falling asleep at night. It is hard for him to calm down enough to fall asleep, and because of this, he ends up staying up later than he should. Some nights, he’ll watch TV to settle down, and then he’ll stay up reading a book. But staying up late does make it hard for him to get up and go in the morning.
Should you medicate your child for ADHD? From one parent to another, you need to do what is best for you and your child. It doesn’t matter what other people think. If you decide that having your child on medication works, that is great. Suppose you decide that you would instead not put them on medication and would rather supplement with something else. That is great too. As long as you do what is best for you and your child, that is the correct answer. Please don’t worry about what other people think or say. Only you know what is best for you! For us, it was to medicate, and it has proven helpful and has had a significant positive impact on our son both at school and at home. We have seen mostly positive from him taking medication that has shown us we’ve made the right decision for him.
Our son was pretty young when he was diagnosed with ADHD, inattentive type. He was halfway through second grade. He would have been seven, turning eight. It would have taken us much longer to have my son tested for ADHD if it weren’t for his second-grade teacher. I am incredibly grateful for her.
I have a hard time remembering what happened last week, let alone ten years ago! Bear with me while I recall these events. When my son was a baby, I never really noticed anything, at least not that I remember. I didn’t start seeing anything different until he was a little older. I think I wasn’t paying much attention because we focused on understanding his tactile defensiveness and getting a diagnosis for that.
Looking back on it, the only thing that I remember that would have made me question ADHD is that he could never do two-step commands. I always had to ask him to do one step at a time. For example, I could never ask him to put his shoes on, get his coat on, and then put his book bag on in one sentence. I had to break up my instructions.
In first grade, his teacher mentioned that he had difficulty following directions. I just thought that was my son being my son. I didn’t know anything about it, so we didn’t do anything. His first-grade teacher ended up having my son tested at the school without our permission. That made me pretty upset. I wasn’t upset that he got tested, just that his teacher didn’t inform us or ask for our approval. With that incident with his teacher, we didn’t do anything further.
When he got in second grade, my son’s teacher talked to us at Parent-Teacher Conference. She said the same thing as his first-grade teacher. He had a hard time following instructions, and he got distracted easily. She was the one that said we might want to get him tested outside of school. That is where his diagnosis started.
After we met with her, I contacted his pediatrician. We met with him, and he referred us to a specialist at the university where we live. Once we met with the specialist, he decided that my son needed to get tested. That was a significant process. We had to fill out pages and pages of paperwork about my pregnancy with him, how delivery went, how he was as and baby and a toddler, and how he was at home. His teacher also had to fill out paperwork on how he was at school. The paperwork took us a couple of weeks to complete.
Once all the paperwork was complete, the doctor had us bring our son to the office so he could have some testing done on a computer. I am not sure what he did on the computer. We were not allowed in the room while he was taking that test. I think they explained it to us, but I can’t remember what it was.
After all of that, the doctor finally told us that he had ADHD. He explained that there were different types and that our son had the inattentive type of ADHD.
I would love to say that we came home and researched ADHD and what it was and how to deal with it, and we became experts, but that is not how it went at all. After all of my research, I am still learning new things about ADHD every day.
That was our experience getting our son diagnosed. I would love to hear from others about your experience of having your child or children diagnosed.
This blog has been years in the making.
It all started a couple of years ago as I talked with my husband. I had mentioned to him how I hate how blogs always look so perfect. They only seem to show the perfect side of things. The people in them seem so perfect. Their families seem perfect. Their kids seem perfect. It drove me nuts! As we continued to talk, I mentioned to him that I know everyone has their problems and that they aren’t perfect, but it would be nice to read some blog posts about things that weren’t so perfect. To read blog posts about the struggles that people go through and the mundane in their lives. I wanted to read something authentic.
I told my husband that I would like it to be completely authentic if I started a blog. To show people how life is not always perfect. To show people that we all struggle, have boring days, and are all normal and rarely perfect. At the time, that is where the conversation ended, but that thought has stuck with me for a couple of years.
So why now? Why start blogging? I am terrified about starting this blog! Have you ever been nervous to start something new? I am a very shy person and have convinced myself that nobody would want to read anything I had to say. But, the more I have thought about it, the more I was convinced that there had to be other people out there that felt just like me. People that desire to read about the authentic side of life. To see that they weren’t alone in their struggles and their experiences.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, I have felt very lonely. I have felt the need to talk to more people. I want to meet more people outside of my little bubble. I’m using this blog to find a community — a community of people that are like me with their ups and downs. So, if you will, I’d like you to come on this perfectly imperfect journey with my family and me, and let’s get to know each other.
Oh, I’d like to encourage you to comment and discuss what you read on this blog! I love to see what other people are experiencing and saying.
Have you ever been so nervous to start something new? I am completely terrified out of my mind to start blogging and share my experiences. I have always wanted to start this blog, but I’m completely terrified, if I’m being honest! I have always had a running dialogue in my mind every day. I know I’m not the most graceful writer, so I kept having doubts about myself and wondering whether or not I should start this blog? I often wondered, what do I have to offer? Will I be embarrassed with what I put out there? Will I offend anyone? Is someone going to make a mean comment? What will my family think? For a long time, these questions ran through my mind repeatedly. I always kept delaying the start of this blog even though I have wanted to do it for well over a year.
My reasoning behind starting a blog was that I wanted to find a community going through some of the same things. I would be a part of a community of parents who have a child with tactile defensiveness, ADHD, or Anxiety. I would love to get new ideas and suggestions from other parents dealing with these situations. At the same time, I think that maybe I have ideas that can help others.
Finally, I just told myself that I needed to go for it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is just so hard to get out of my head. I told myself that I needed the courage to put myself out there. Try starting a new blog and see what happens. If I don’t even try, I will never know whether or not I could have done it. I would want to try and fail than not try at all.
So for all of you who are nervous to start something new, I encourage you to go for it. You will never know if you can do it if you don’t go for it. Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear about what makes you nervous to start something new.
I am sure there are some of you reading this who are wondering what tactile defensiveness is. It is a term used to describe someone very sensitive to touch. As a result, someone who experiences tactile defensiveness is much more sensitive to touch than usual.
Our son, who is 14 years old, has been diagnosed with tactile defensiveness. He received his diagnosis when he was 18 months old. As parents, we became concerned that he wasn’t walking or trying to walk. It also concerned us that he would pull his feet up to avoid standing when we would try and have him stand up on our laps. Also, when we would try and have him stand up on the ground, he would do the same thing. He would never let the bottom of his feet touch anything and do everything he could to avoid it!
My husband and I asked our family doctor about our concerns, and he referred us to a physical therapist. When we went to the physical therapist, our son was diagnosed five minutes into our appointment. It was extremely quick. It surprised me, but the therapist immediately knew our son’s diagnosis as he watched our son’s behavior! Our son avoided physical contact because of how things felt on his skin. The therapist explained it like this to me. He said that when you cut your fingernails too short, the skin under the nail gets exposed, and it feels weird. He said that is the feeling my son has all over his body.
After I learned what it was, we realized that there were signs of it from the day he was born. He would always cry whenever we would change his diaper. He would also cry and scream whenever we bathed him, and I would rub lotion on him. He hated that.
He also didn’t like to touch things with his hands. He didn’t want to touch anything slimy or gooey. We would have him play with shaving cream or pudding with his fingers. He hated this and didn’t do very well with this one.
He was never a great eater either. When he got a little older, maybe age two or two and a half, we realized that he had tactile defensiveness in his mouth. He hated baby food. He hated fruit or veggies. He liked more solid things, like chicken nuggets or quesadillas. His eating to this day, ten years later, is still our biggest challenge. His list of foods that he will eat is minimal. And when he does eat, he picks at things and puts a small amount of food in his mouth. Eating for him is a chore. I am always trying to find something that he will eat, and I get frustrated when he doesn’t like most things I make.
Tactile defensiveness is something our son will have to deal with his entire life. He has just learned to live with most of the things he doesn’t like to touch. Some things will always be a challenge for him, mainly his eating. Now that he is getting older, there are just simple things that you wouldn’t think about, like face wash. Just washing his face is a struggle. We quickly learned that he could not use the foaming face wash! There are just so many tiny things that pop up as he gets older that we work through. He is a great kid and works through everything so well.
So, where are all my people out there who have someone with tactile defensiveness in their lives? I would love to hear from you.
After our son was diagnosed with tactile defensiveness, we had much to learn. As parents, we needed to understand what tactile defensiveness was. My husband nor I had ever heard of it before. We also needed to know what we could do at home to help him. We had to educate our families on what it was also. No one in our families had heard of it either.
Our number one concern after his diagnosis was helping him to learn how to walk. It took us almost five months to achieve this goal, from the diagnosis to his being able to walk on his own. We took these steps as parents for him to learn to walk.
1. Physical Therapy
We would go to physical therapy regularly. We would never have known what to do if we hadn’t kept going. There were so many different activities at physical therapy that they would do with our son. I can’t remember everything that they did, but the one thing that they used was hanging beads. All they would do is have our son put his feet under these hanging beads, and they would make them swing across his feet. At first, he hated this, but eventually, he got used to it. When we went to therapy, they always gave us this to do at home.
2. Brushing His Feet
One of the primary activities the therapist would have us do at home was brushing our son’s feet. I know it sounds a little weird, and you are probably wondering what that is. Our therapist gave us this little sponge that was soft on one side, and on the other side it had tiny bristles. All we would do would take his feet, and with the bristle side of the sponge, we would brush his feet. We would constantly brush up and down across the bottom of his feet. He did not like this feeling at all. It took a couple of weeks to get used to the sensation on the bottom of his feet.
3. Going Barefoot
All we did was take him outside in his bare feet for this one. We would have him touch his feet on different textures. We put his feet on the cement or in the sand. We would try anything that we could think of that would feel foreign to him. The one he hated the most was the grass. It took him a long time to be able for him to be comfortable touching the grass with his feet.
4. Using a Walker
The last thing that the therapist had us do was use a walker. He needed the walker to get strength in his legs. You have to realize that he had never stood up on his legs at this point in his life. When moms take their babies and hold them up on their laps and stand up and you make faces at the baby while you are helping them stand. My son never did that. You never realize how that tiny little thing was such a big deal. Since he had never stood on his legs, they were weak. We used the tiniest little gold walker you would have ever seen. It only took him about a week to learn how to use the walker, and then he was off. We couldn’t slow him down after that. He used the walker for a couple of months.
After months of doing all of these things, our son finally started walking independently. It was the best day when he could finally walk without any help. Walking hasn’t been his only setback. He had to learn how to touch things with his hands as well. Eating, to this day, has been and continues to be the biggest obstacle. Please read my other posts are the strange things we would do for him to get used to touching things and eating.