Crazy Days

Does Anyone Else Have the "Problem" Child?

I have four children. They are wonderful. They are beautiful. They are smart. They are all so very, very different from each other. My oldest is my artistic child. She loves to read, she loves to write poetry and short stories, she loves music, and she paints amazing pictures for me. My second oldest daughter is very quiet. She honestly likes people to just leave her alone and let her do her own thing. She doesn’t read as well, but she is great in math. She did not get that from me. I remember when she was two, she built a big castle out of blocks. They were not the usual cube blocks but the ones with different colors and shapes. Each castle was perfectly symmetrical with each side having the same color and shape lined. I was amazed. My son, the youngest of the four, has been the most perfect baby ever. He has hardly cried from the time he was born. He is always content. He is sweet and cuddly. He loves his sisters and follows them everywhere. He could sit in the corner and watch the girls play all day and be perfectly happy. Then we have my youngest daughter. Let me start by saying that she is an amazing child with many wonderful qualities. She is incredibly smart. She loves to read and reads above her grade level. She is hilarious. The things she says and does make me laugh hysterically on a daily basis. But she was always more difficult than her sisters. From the time she was a baby we could drive nowhere without her screaming the whole trip. When she got to be about 6 months old, she learned how to unlock her child restraint. We had to keep switching car seats every time she figured out how to unlock a new one. Once she learned how to get out of her crib, we never slept again. My oldest children were on great night schedule. Then she started keeping everyone in the house up all night. All of the nanny advice in the world did nothing to help. All of the tricks I used to help my other girls go to bed didn’t work. And watch her attitude in the morning! When she was little it was almost funny. Then she grew older and we realized we may have a problem on our hands. I would go to the store, and she would get lost. She would get so distracted that she would just walk away before anyone even knew she was gone. She would throw herself on the floor and have tantrums in front of everyone. She stole merchandise numerous times from the store. I always made her take it back and apologize, but she just started hiding what she stole instead. Several times she threw a fit in the store and I stopped everything I was doing. Instead of buying dinner, I put everyone in the car, bought happy meals for her sisters, and fed her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and water for dinner. I reminded her that it was her behavior in the store that made us unable to buy dinner for the night. I did everything I was told and everything I could think of to get her on track. Then school started. I received calls every week to talk her out of her tantrums. Her school was phenomenal with her, but there was only so much they could do. She failed the first two report cards of kindergarten. Her teachers said she was always interrupting class and wouldn’t sit down to complete any assignments. I had the attitude that parents who put their kids on medications were too lazy to deal with their behavior problems. We knew she was difficult. But, we had always put up with her behavior and dealt with it the best way we knew how. Now they were talking about her staying behind a grade. I wondered how she would do better next year when she already knew all of the information they were learning. She would be bored and even more riled up. We made the agonizing decision to try her on medications. The difference was amazing. I didn’t lose that same funny, sociable kid. She was still my funny girl. But she was more controlled. She went from failing the first two report cards to finishing above average on all of her end of year testing. Her reading level went up by a whole grade. The boost in self confidence was amazing. She no longer complained about hating school and how all of the kids didn’t like her. She made friends and wanted to be at school every day. I’m not here to promote medication for kids. I still believe that too many kids are given labels and unnecessarily placed on medications that can have dangerous side effects. I just ask that all of you out there who had the same attitude I once had, to understand these decisions are not easy to make. And, it is not our job to judge the decisions other parents make for their children. If you have been through this same type of situation, advice on what works for you is always welcomed by other parents. But be careful to not turn advice into judgment.

The “L” Word---LICE!!!

I remember once in elementary school having my mother comb through my long, thick, wavy hair with a tiny, black comb with very sharp points. Oh the humiliation! Fast forward twenty years. It is by far more humiliating to be the parent of a child with lice than the actual child with lice. We get notes home every year from school saying someone has lice and to keep an eye out for your little ones. In eleven years, we have never had a problem. However, it is now summer time. And for some reason the only daycare for school age children in our little town feels the need for children ages 6 through 12 to take naps during the day (this is a discussion for another blog). So my children come to daycare with their blanket and pillow ready to take a nap on the floor with the rest of the little darlings. My youngest daughter was out of town staying with her aunt when I received a call saying my daughter had lice. Let me say again…Oh the humiliation! “It’s under control. Don’t worry about it. It happens. I’ve already taken care of it.” These are all the wonderful things my very patient and understanding sister-in-law has to say. Wait, I have three more. What about the other kids? The baby boy is no big deal. I found a lice…a louse? (Yea, I think that’s right.) But he has hardly any hair, so that’s easy. The girls are not so easy. Not only do I have two more girls besides the one out of town, but they have very long, very thick hair just like their mom. And, of course, they had lice too! Four excruciating hours later, I think I finally have their heads clean. Washing and combing, drying and combing, washing and drying and combing again. Don’t forget you have to wash all of the sheets, blankets and pillows with hot water. But of course you can’t throw the couch in the washing machine, so now you have to spray down all of the furniture in the house. The can didn’t say anything about the carpet. But the girls lay on the carpet. Should I spray the carpet too? What about the seats in my car. They rest their heads on those seats. Surely I should spray the car down too. Hours later everything “feels” clean and I think I can finally sit down without feeling the imaginary sting of little bugs biting me. Read directions. Repeat in a week for any eggs that may hatch. You have to be kidding me.

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