This Parenting Thing Is A Puzzle, I Tell Ya

So Friday morning, Leah woke up with a pounding headache. Given the emotional breakdown of the day before, I thought there was a pretty good chance she was coming down with something, so I kept her home. I figured even if she wasn’t getting sick, a day home for just the two of us would be a good thing. And it was, mostly. The only drawback was she didn’t have her binder with all of her homework, because it got left in her classroom. (Which kind of annoyed me because they said they would make sure she had everything she needed when I picked her up. And I so didn’t have time to go running all over the school collecting stuff.) Whatever. We were able to get some of her work from online and the teacher of the emotional breakdown sent me a couple things on email, so it was do-able. Actually, in some ways it felt like we were homeschooling again, which was kind of fun. I think it struck Leah the same way because she said over the weekend, “I want to homeschool again.” I totally don’t know where to go with that.

Two of her friends who live in the neighborhood stopped by here after they got off the bus on Friday to check on her, which I thought was really sweet. (Though I also wondered what kind of gossip about her might have been going around school that day. I am SO paranoid!) And Friday evening she went to her friend’s house for a pumpkin carving party and had a great time. Two points in favor of public schooling. (not that homeschoolers can’t have friends and go to pumpkin carving parties. But she wouldn’t know those girls, were it not for public school)

The doctor appointment went well. He immediately dismissed the idea of asthma, because it was a one time thing in a situation where she was upset. Also, I brought along part of the report we had from the Educational Psychologist (done when Leah was in the 2nd grade) where she was diagnosed with ADHD and so he concluded pretty quickly this was an emotional reaction to her ADHD being handled poorly at school. In fact, he was visibly ticked at her teacher and said he was going to write a letter to her school (to be passed along by me) telling them they need to do a better job abiding by her 504 plan. That made me feel better – validated, I guess. So we talked some, he observed the way Leah can not sit still for even a minute (she wasn’t bouncing off the walls, just squirming) and said he thought ADHD medication would be helpful. He also listened to all my concerns and took the time to explain to Leah in terms she could understand just exactly what the ADHD medicine is supposed to do. And then he gave us a prescription for Concerta. We’re starting with a very low dose, and he gave me a second prescription for the next level up, if I think the first level isn’t doing anything.

Here we go.

We started the medicine over the weekend and I really didn’t notice much. Her appetite stayed pretty good, she was able to sleep okay, and behavior-wise she didn’t seem all that different. We’ll probably have to up it. But I want to give her a week on this dose to let her body get used to it and make sure there’s no side effects to worry about.

So everything felt pretty okay this weekend. Like we were getting control of things. Turning the corner even.

And then there was this morning. Leah is not a morning person. And that last sentence back there is the biggest understatement ever. It takes FOREVER to get her up in the morning. Her alarm goes off, five minutes later I come in and turn on the light by her bed and start gently rousing her, and then maybe 5-10 minutes later I can get her to sit up. And then I have to talk her through the dressing process, sometimes with a lot of actual help with the dressing. That’s an average day. Today? As soon as I broke through the sound asleep stage, she started crying. Not tears, more like moaning-whining. Which, I have to confess, totally grates on my nerves. I was afraid this was going to dissolve into a full on fit, so I was trying to keep things calm and firm. Lots of “Calm down, stop crying, take a breath, I can’t understand you, what’s wrong? Can you at least sit up? Shh, you’re going to wake your brother. Seriously, can you stop crying?” I probably didn’t handle it well. Maybe I should have been more gentle. But she really needed to get up and dressed and I really didn’t know how else to prod her along. She was a MESS. And when I finally got her to the point where she could talk she kept saying, “You hate me. Everyone is yelling at me.” I swear, I was not yelling. Talking sternly, yes. Yelling? No.

The worst part is, I had absolutely no idea WHY she was crying. Was it because she was worried about going back to school after the panic attack? Was she just really tired? Is it a puberty thing? An adoption thing? All of the above?? I really need to figure this out because we can not have more mornings like that. It was awful. AW-FUL.

Come to think of it, she used to have mornings like that (well, maybe not that bad, but close) last year, before I pulled her out to homeschool. In fact, that was one (of many) reasons we decided to homeschool. But sleeping in just doesn’t seem like enough of a reason to pull her out of public school. You know?

Last night I turned out her light at 8:30. I’m pretty sure she was asleep by 9. Unless she had middle of the night insomnia, the girl got 9 hours of sleep. Nine hours! Shouldn’t that be enough?

I’m completely baffled.

Also, I just want to say, for the record, to all you parents of younger girls, BEWARE. Eleven SUCKS. It is without a doubt the absolutely worst age for girls. I am basing this on my completely scientific sample of two daughters; I suppose it’s possible there may be outliers. But if your daughter hits eleven and suddenly loses her ever-lovin’ mind, do not say I didn’t warn you!


7 thoughts on “This Parenting Thing Is A Puzzle, I Tell Ya

  1. Thanks for the warning on 11. I thought it wouldn’t be until 13. My husband always wanted girls because he thought they would be easier. HA! I asked him if he had ever met a 13-year-old girl. Now I’ll have to break it to him that it’s really 11. My five-year-old daughter is exhausting. I don’t even want to think about 15.

    1. I hear you Tracy! I thought it was 13 too… until Quinn hit 11! And I was like whaat? Nobody warned me about 11! I thought maybe it was a fluke… until Leah hit 11. Now I know 11 is the new 13.

  2. I have girls 11 and 12 and so far, so good. I was prepared for the worst (because my stepdaughter lost her dang mind around 11 and never returned to normal), but nothing too scary has happened yet. Which only makes me worry more that when it happens, it’s going to be Very, Very Bad. I may be blessed with one outlier, but two? What are the odds? There’s a good chance one of those little girls is going to go all Beee Word on me in a major way. But, I sure hope not. I’ll let you know in early April, when the 12 y.o. turns 13.

    I know absolutely ZERO about the meds Leah’s on, but… is there any chance at all that they can make you feel groggy in the morning like some OTC sleep meds and allergy meds can? I know that when I take night-time cold medicine, I can go to bed plenty early, but still feel like I’m trying to come out of a coma in the morning. Just a thought. I know nothing about this, so I’m sorry if that’s idiotic.

    I feel bad for the sweet baby. Hope she’s feeling like her normal self soon! For BOTH your sakes!

    1. Totally not idiotic Michelle! In fact, you prompted me to go do some online research and I found that “drowsiness” is a possible side effect. (Weird to me when insomnia is another side effect. How’s that work exactly?) I’ll definitely have to keep an eye on this.
      Congrats on having 2 girls get past 11 without going bonkers! You are blessed!

  3. I really struggled with the ADD meds too. My oldest went on them at 9 & is now almost off them (he’s 12). I think he needed the help in training his brain how to focus. He’s in a school now that switches classes every 45 minutes, & that helps too. My middle son just went on them. He’s definitely less moody but still out of his seat & slow to transition. I’m reluctant to up his dosage just yet.

    My suggestion for the mornings is to give your daughter a spoonful of peanut butter before she goes to bed. I don’t know why it works, but it has helped my Not-A-Morning-Person become mostly tolerable.

  4. Peanut butter? Interesting! Might just have to try that.
    It’s good to hear your son is getting off the meds… I worry that once on, it will be hard to take her back off. I’d like to think if she can develop good habits she might not need the meds.

  5. I’m glad your doctor is advocating for you – it makes such a difference to have the team all on the same page. And yes, I find myself trying to decipher behavior every single day. His age? Adoption? Normal? School? What he had for breakfast? Gah, it’s not easy.

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