Kindergarten & Prozac

I don’t believe in Karma per say but I believe there are times that we reap what we sew.  For many years of my life I was a mom who loved being on my high horse judging how everyone around me parented.  I wasn’t too quick to share my opinion verbally (who am I kidding, sometimes I did spout off at the mouth) but many times, I judged other moms very harshly.  Looking back, it seems every harsh judgment came back to haunt me once I became a parent.

For example; all good moms breastfeed.  A pretty common opinion right?  I probably took it a step further.  Good moms breastfeed.  Bad moms use formula.  UGH right?  I stood right up there on my soap box and believed this until…I gave birth to a premature baby girl who couldn’t latch on to save her life.  I can remember sitting in a recliner in the NICU with my lactation consultant crying my eyes out because I couldn’t breastfeed.  We tried everything, every way, every position, every trick.  My precious little one ended up being fed formula and it completely ruined her.  She is now 14, taller than me, way prettier than me, much nicer than I have ever been and makes straight A’s.  DARN that formula!

Another example; why on earth do they make size 6 diapers??  What child that large still hasn’t been potty trained? What is WRONG with mothers these days?  Get off the couch and teach these kids to use the toilet already!!!!  Fast forward to when my poor formula fed daughter was around 4 years old…still not potty trained…sitting on the floor playing with toys, reeking of poop.  When asked why she didn’t just get up and poop in the toilet that’s 10 feet away from her she replied “I didn’t want to stop playing with my toys so I just pooped my pants!” It must have been because she was fed formula. I hope you can sense some sarcasm here.

Last and most recent example; we should never be drugging our children – children who need Ritalin or Zoloft obviously have crappy parents! Let’s give the parents the Ritalin and the Zoloft and leave these kids alone!  We don’t need zombie children roaming around our schools!  Let kids be kids!!! Oh how the mighty have fallen off of their soap box.  I’m holding in my hand a prescription for Prozac for my kindergartner.

My husband and I have 3 precious girls.  The oldest is the 14 year old formula fed, size 6 diaper wearing genius.  Our youngest daughter’s adoption will be final in the next few weeks – she just turned 3 but we have had her in our home since she was born.  She’s a pretty big deal!  Our middle daughter is an amazing 6 year old whom we adopted from foster care just last year. She is our youngest’s half sister and she spent 2 years of her life in foster care before she came to our family.  She has walked a pretty tough road in the short life she has lived.  Lots of care takers, lots of abandonment, lots of confusion, not a lot of commitment.  We have recently gotten some pretty difficult diagnoses for a child so young…and these diagnoses are making her life extremely hard.  Public school is difficult…she just doesn’t fit in the square hole they want her to fit in.  Friendships are difficult…it’s hard to make friends when you need to be in complete control at all times and have impulse issues.  “I’m sorry your friend doesn’t want to play with you but remember…you spit on her yesterday?”  We have had more of those conversations than we can count.

The last thing we wanted to do was medicate her. Isn’t a stable home enough to snap her out of these things?  Isn’t a nice bedroom, clothes, toys, food, a big back yard enough? Isn’t Sunday School and gymnastics and family time enough? Isn’t our love enough?  Turns out…it’s not.  Not when you have chemical imbalances in your brain. Not when you have experienced extreme trauma before you even turned a year old. Not when you can’t even articulate the things that have happened to you but we can all tell horrible things have happened to you by the way you cower down at the simplest and most innocent advances in your direction.

We haven’t even talked about faith yet.  I am a Christian.  I believe in the Gospel and I believe Jesus’ death on the cross took away disease and sickness, including mental illness.  I believe God is our healer.  During prayer time a few years ago God told me “She will have a testimony that others will pursue her to hear”.  I stand on that word…every single day.  I believe God has BIG plans for this little girl’s life.  But until we actually see that healing has taken place, our little girl needs to be able to learn, to have relationships, to have joy, to belly laugh, to connect, to love, to feel loved.  Right now…she can’t.

At the beginning of her Kindergarten year we started her on a small dose of medication for her ADHD.  When she started school, she couldn’t even color a picture because she couldn’t focus for the 2 it takes. She would bring home paper after paper of nothing but incoherent scribbles.  Within a month of her starting her medication, she started bringing home beautiful pictures, carefully colored, in the lies, very creative. She was so proud of her new found ability to color!  It was then that we realized…we have no idea what our precious girl is capable of. Her ADHD and anxiety has completely smothered her for years! What else will we learn about our little girl that we have never been able to see before? What other talents and giftings will come to light?  It iss so exciting to watch her come out of her shell!

This medicine has helped her to sleep at night when her nights were so restless before.  This medicine helps her to look at a book for the first time.  To read sight words for the first time.  To be able to count to 100 for the first time.  This medicine, that I thought was from the pit of hell, actually is helping our daughter.  But now, 5 months later, we still see issues that aren’t getting better.

She’s pretty angry…all the time.  She’s angry when she wakes up. She’s angry she has to get dressed. She’s angry she can’t wear a tank top in January.  She’s angry the school lunch is BBQ. She’s angry at what I send in her lunch.  She’s angry when she gets off the bus because she can’t possible succeed using the schools discipline system (red yellow green…I hate you so much).  She’s angry at what we have for dinner. She’s angry she has to take a bath…she wants a shower. If I would have offered a shower, she would be angry it’s not a bath.  She’s angry at bedtime.  She’s just angry…all the time.  So her anxiety is better, her impulsivity has improved, but she’s angry…and sad…she’s only 6 for crying out loud.  The biggest problem in her life should be that her Barbie Doll’s arm broke off…her heart is so burdened all of the time.

So today, her psychiatrist gave us a prescription for a small dose of Prozac.  What a big fat slice of humble pie…my Kindergartner needs an anti-depressant.  Am I the crappy parent I judged other medicated children’s parents to be?  Am I the one who needs Prozac and not her?   I have my crappy moments and I certainly have days where Prozac wouldn’t hurt.  We need help.  We need intervention.  Right now, she needs medication.  Sure I hope this is temporary but who knows?  Right now, today, my little girl cannot function in Kindergarten without it. She can’t function in our home without it.  And here is the painful truth…I will never be a perfect enough parent to fix my little girl.  Some things love can’t fix…well MY love anyway.

So here is our plan…we will use discernment when psychiatrists and neuropsychologists give us advice.  We will treat her medically for now. We will get the appropriate therapies to help our family.  We will do our best to love her with the love of Christ.  We will strive daily to see her with HIS eyes, to hear her with HIS ears, to love her the way HE loves her…the way he loves US.  We will continue to pray for and believe for healing for our precious girl, physically, emotionally & spiritually.  We will never give up on her…ever.  Oh…and I will try my best to stay the hell off my soap box for the rest of my life!

My first ever blog

Why on earth am I starting a blog?  As if I have nothing else to do?  For many years now, when things have happened to me, around me, because of me, I have been compelled to write about it. Why? Who cares right? Because I believe that most people think they are alone in the situations in their lives.  I believe people go through stuff both good and bad and think that no one else can understand or relate or connect.  Especially the hard stuff.  When I go through a trial, my gut reaction is to believe I’m the only one who struggles in this particular area.  But I know this isn’t true at all. 

We all live different lives but most of our experiences really are very normal.  The rough places in my life are not extraordinary – lots of people have similar rough places.  But NO ONE EVER TALKS ABOUT IT! Don’t we all want to paint a very successful, happy picture of our lives to show those around us?  Don’t we all want our friends, family, and neighbors to think the very best of us?  I gave up on that concept a long time ago.  And I’m here to tell you that life is SO much better when you can just be yourself. So here I am! The good, the bad, the ridiculous, the pathetic, the insane, the amazing, and the tragic.  When you don’t have to hide who you are, you don’t have to concern yourself with insincere relationships.  When you stop pretending, you can tap into your authentic self which is the very best version of YOU that YOU can ever be.  I believe we were all created on purpose for a purpose.

So…I’ve wanted to write.   But who has the time?  I work 30 hours a week. I have 3 very busy children.  I have a husband who works his tail off to provide for us.  We have a home. We have activities.  By the time I have a moment to sit down and write I am so dang tired my eyes cross and I can’t think.  Circumstances in our family’s life, which I’m sure you will read about later, has caused us to make some pretty big decisions.

I have recently put in my notice at the job that I love with all of my heart.  This summer I will stay home with my kiddos for the first time in mine and their lives.  There is no word in the English language that properly explains how flippin’ excited I am about this!  This coming fall my oldest will be in High School (so many tears…), my youngest will be in Pre-K (and yes more tears…), and my 1st grader and I will be diving headfirst into the world of home schooling!

These are some major changes for our family but we know they are exactly what we are supposed to be doing at this stage in our lives.  These changes also open up time for ME to be able to focus on my personal ministry goals.  I have a story and I love to talk about it. I love to talk about it not because I think I’ve done something incredible because that couldn’t be further from the truth.  GOD has done incredible things through the hot mess I have created that is called my life.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE to tell people about the goodness of God, the faithfulness of God, the grace and mercy of God.  So now I have found the time I need to write. I have found the time I need to share my story. I have found the time I need to reach out to others who have walked similar paths and show them the hope that I have in Jesus.   Lots of good stuff happening here!

So…stay tuned!