Thursday, December 12, 2013

new labels.

the battles had been many that day.  i was out of patience.  my voice, my reactions, became louder, and angrier with each outburst.  this time i carried her up the steps as she flailed and screamed.  i put her in her room and shut the door.  i began to walk down the steps, sat down, and just started sobbing.
i never wanted to be a parent who yelled.  especially not as much as i do.  what had happened to me?  those first few years with her were so easy.  she was compliant.  she was loving.  and now it seems that more often than not, she is a screaming, crying, mess.  what did i do wrong?
a few minutes later i heard her door open.  she sat down next to me on the steps, and laid her head on my arm.  'sorry mama, for my fit and my bad attitude.'  that, that's the little girl i know.  the one who lives life full of passion.  the little girl who wants to be a doctor so she can help people.  the one who rushes to her sister's side as soon as anyone comes close to her, and has to know what the doctors are doing to her sister when we go to appointments.  she's in there.
in our world we know what constitutes a big deal.  we don't freak out too much.  we embrace and love quirky.  our girls are healthy.  they have disorders.  they have medical things that hang over our heads.  but, in a world full of bigger things, harder things, and scarier things, these things are very small.  it's important to know this, and to remember this.

but, also in our world, i was at a point where i felt completely at a loss for how to parent well.  the things that used to work, no longer did.  and after multiple months of battles with my big, i sent our family doctor an e-mail sharing what was going on.  she set up an appointment with a neuro-developmental doctor.  and we waited.
i researched, talked, and learned a lout about sensory integration disorder (or sensory processing disorder) in the meantime.  i filled out some paperwork through the center where big was getting speech therapy, and got a call back that she definitely met the criteria.  so i studied her more, read more, and tried to figure out her quirks.
she is a sensory seeker.  she needs to jump, chew, touch, squeeze, move, swing, anything that gives her senses lots of input.  so we have worked hard to do this.  things got better.  not great.  not perfect.  but better.
and tuesday, we saw the new doctor.  and i shared our concerns, our thoughts, our desire to help her, and us.  there was an eval before he came in to see us.  and then he sat, and listened to me for five minutes.  he was talking, looked at me, and said, 'ive been in the room for five minutes.  she hasn't stopped moving yet.  i don't doubt the sensory stuff.  the signs are there.  but, your daughter has adhd.
nothing changed from the moment before he said, until the moment after, with abigail.  she was the exact same kid.  she isn't harder now because she has a new label.  she isn't less capable of learning.  part of the reason we chose to home school her is because we knew if we sent her to kindergarten that this would come up, and we didn't want to medicate her.
but, there was that moment where things were confirmed.  and i felt a little sad for abigail.  because the label comes with a stigma.  she doesn't even know that this label exist yet. she definitely doesn't know she has this label. i hesitated to share it publicly because of the stigma.
i want to be an advocate though.  i want to advocate that my daughter's hard wiring in her brain being different does not make her defective.  it makes her creative.  energetic.  full of life.  and yes, sometimes it makes her defiant.  we know that we cannot allow the behavior issues to disrupt life everyday.  so we are implementing some changes.  we are seeking the help we need to know how to best parent her.  we are researching dietary and natural things that might help us along the way.  and, for now, we are foregoing any medicine.
we love our full of life big.  we love how much energy she brings to everything...even if papa says, 'taking a regular, smiling picture of her is like trying to take a picture of bigfoot.'