Let's start with Caleb. Caleb has struggled for years. I knew he was a hard and defiant preschooler, as cute as he was. In kindergarten he was put on his first behavior plan. At the end of 4th grade he was diagnosed with ADHD and we started working with therapists because of his defiant and emotional behavior. Middle school has magnified his weaknesses. To say it has been a tough year would be a colossal understatement. Luckily he does have two best friends. They are good boys, but not the kids I would hope he'd choose as best friends. They are also immature and spend too much time on video games. Luckily they are accepting and forgiving. Caleb also go's to an incredible school. The teachers are on the ball and don't just let incomplete assignments or failed tests go. Unfortunately I'm getting to know his teachers really well.
This past week Caleb was goofing around during a class and it turned into a bullying situation with Caleb being hurt. It put us both into a tail spin. Later that day he even got kicked out of the class of one of his favorite teachers. I was on the phone with the teacher talking about the bullying when I missed the call from the other teacher. One thing he said has rung in my ears was, "I still don't think he clearly understands why it is wrong to not do what he is told." I feel like YES, that is my life. He won't do what he is told. I can either fight with him or just say "okay" and hope that he ultimately makes the decision that is best. Parenting him is harder than I could have ever imagined. Someone said we should thank him because he makes the other kids all seem so easy. I chuckle because of the trueness of that statement.
Before raising Caleb I may have been someone who would have judged parents for putting their children on medication. Caleb has been on methylphenidate for his ADHD since the summer before 4th grade. It SAVED us for the past couple of years. He stopped taking it this winter. He just refused. Last week I took him to the doctor to discuss other options. He is now starting Citalopram which will hopefully help with his "oppositional defiance". Hopefully it will take the edge off of his behavior so we can focus more on thriving in life.
I have to admit that another thing that makes me slightly crazy is seeing how much potential Caleb has in so many things and watching him play the game of life half-heartedly. He loves sports, but he refuses to get all in. Once it starts to feel like work he taps out. This year he begged to play lacrosse. It was a $400+ investment for Josh and I to get the equipment and get him registered. He wasn't even a week in before he decided that he didn't really want to play. It makes me want to pull my hair out!! He could be so great at basketball, but he refuses to put in the time. I could go on.
The crazy thing about all of this is that I believe Caleb's nature is good. He isn't drawn to evil or bad things. He doesn't even ask to watch PG13 movies. He doesn't lie, steel or cheat. He is a loving and playful brother. He just doesn't not want to be told what to do, or even gently guided, and he refuses anything that appears to him to be work. What a crazy journey we are on!!
Cara by nature is happy and helpful, but she is starting to have mood swings that turn her into a beast. She is especially grumpy if she is woke up before she is ready. Luckily she wakes up on her own easily, because it is dangerous to wake that girl. The hardest thing for my heart is watching her inability to read. She loves to cook and takes advantage of every opportunity to be in the kitchen. The sad thing is that she can't read recipes. Last week I was at a Relief Society service project and she called me on face time. She asked about making cookies and I gave her permission. She proceeded to turn the camera so I could read the recipe to her. I didn't have time to do that. It was just one example of a simple thing that we can do that presents a real challenge for illiterate people.
I know that having disobedient children is not something unique to our family, but it is sure making me crazy. I swear, my kids don't even acknowledge my requests 75% of the time. Lately I have been feeling like the maid and the cook around here. I'm not sure how to make this all change, but something has got to change!!
Josh received some bad news this week. He has one major client that has provided about half of his work as an independent contractor for the past 5+ years. That client informed him this week that they would be finding a new graphic designer. Josh charges a lot, and they want one that will be in their office more of the time. Josh provides us with a great lifestyle, but it is really stressful and hurtful to be loosing this major client. Josh and I both feel that an even better opportunity will show up, but this news has certainly added to my gloomy feelings this week.
Here is another harsh reality. I am 5' 10" and weighed a healthy 155 lbs through college and after each one of my baby's - until Johnny. For the past four years I have weighed around 170 lbs except when I have been on intense diet/exercise programs. For the past few weeks I have been nearly starving myself eating 1200 calories a day and exercising and the scale hasn't budged. It is so discouraging! I want to run with my kids, but my knees swell and ache when I do. My mom had her knees both replaced when she was 50. My feet THROB every night. I used to think it was plantar fasciitis, but it isn't my heels. It is the bottom of my entire foot. My mom was diagnosed with bone on bone arthritis in her feet this winter. Is that my problem? Heaven spare me from being crippled!! I'm trying to create a weight-loss and a health plan that will spare me, but it does feel discouraging to have these genetic setbacks.
Despite all of my wonderful blessings. The rainy/snowy spring weather and the list of discouragements above have had me feeling really gloomy. Maybe I just needed to get it all out. Now it is a new week. The sun is shining, and the forecast is for warmer weather. One week is long enough to feel sorry for myself. I guess I'll pick myself up and get back to work!