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From Lion Fox & Co

ADHD: What it’s like in our household.

I honestly don’t know where to start with this post.. as trying to navigate from start to finish is a slightly overwhelming task for me. So to give this blog a bit of context I’ll explain to you some ADHD facts as quoted from the Royal Children’s Hospital website.

Lucas was a bubbly baby, with a big personality.

‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental problem which results in poor concentration and control of impulses. The three most common symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity and overactivity. It can impact upon children’s learning and social skills, and also family functioning. Every 3-5 in 100 children in Australia have been diagnosed with ADHD and it is far more common in boys than girls.’

When Lucas was born he was the perfect newborn. He slept, he ate and he barely made a fuss. It wasn’t until solids were introduced where I noticed that something was a bit off. He was very sensitive to textures, and I’d spend more time cleaning up his vomit than actually feeding him. So to make it easier for everyone (mostly me), he practically ate the same food just to ensure that it stayed down. Can you believe that even today he can vomit caused by a certain texture? Not that long ago, he threw up on himself because he had berry seeds in his smoothie.

Just before his first birthday I introduced him to Gymbaroo, which is a program specifically designed to educate parents on child’s development. At Gymbaroo there is gym equipment for your children to move, climb and develop their strength. There is also a play mat area where each week the educator discusses topics of children development. This includes balance, coordination, fine and gross motor skills, speech, auditory, visual processing and body awareness. I noticed that Lucas didn’t flourish like the rest children, and he was always ‘that’ child. You know.. the one who squeals, snatches, unable to participate and is so disruptive. In the end it was just too stressful to continue, and we had even won a term which we barely attended because in the end I’d be turning red with frustration.

Taking Lucas to parks, playgrounds, play centers and birthday parties were and still continue to be a stressful event. When he was around two/three years old he was terrorizing another child, trying to snatch their bike away. On my way to sort out the issue, the mother grabbed him by the shoulders and screamed ‘NO’ in his face. It stopped me dead in my tracks. Have you heard of the fight or flight response, well I am neither of these. I freeze! Always!

Another incident occurred in a doctors surgery, where I was trying to calm him down and he just wouldn’t listen to reason. The doctor picked him up by the ankle and held him upside down. Again, I froze, looking dumbfounded. Looking back it at it, I should have approached the mum and addressed the doctor about their behavior. Because, lets face it, we are the adults and we need the control.

Our biggest issue to date with Lucas is his impulsivity. Last year, when I was heavily pregnant with Flynn, Lucas went on a walkabout. We have a tall Colorbond fence, and Lucas decided to open it and take our pets for a walk. After an hour of searching for him, we knew we had to contact the police. There is a massive golf course that runs through our suburb and my fear was that he would decide to go for a swim and likely drown. Once the police arrived, they had a helicopter on standby in case it was needed. Thankfully I always ensure that our pets are tagged and this is how he was located. A lady called me to say that not only did she have our dogs but also our son who invited himself in for a cold drink of water. He was having a grand old time.

It wasn’t until Kindergarten where someone else noticed his behavior. During his first term of school, his teacher suggested I take him to a pediatrician just to ensure that everything was okay. Eight months later, due to a very long wait list, he was finally assessed. It only took 45 minutes to diagnose him with ADHD. But we weren’t really given much, except to attend a seminar on positive parenting. When we were approaching the final week of Kindergarten , we spoke with the school on how his behavior could improve as he was scoring as a below average. Chris and I learned that WA does not have funding to support children who have ADHD. Soon, hopefully within the next two years, we will be relocating back to the eastern states.

There is still room, lots of room, for improvement from our part. We try so hard, but our own ignorance and frustrations taint our ability to be patient with him. It’s a big learning curve for us, and we try hard to ensure that he is on the right track. He does not consume processed or refined sugars and he eats a mostly plant based diet. We supplement magnesium to help him control his behavior. We try and give him a structured day so he knows what to expect, we give him small goals to complete so he feels accomplished and has something to work towards. We try to avoid negative words like don’t, didn’t, isn’t and wasn’t. Most important of all though is that we tell him we love him.

 

Much love

Melanie xoxo

 

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2016 – Definitely Not an Odyssey

Well, 2 days into the new year and it feels largely the same as 2016!

I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that by some kind of divine intervention, the coming of a new calendar year is somehow going change them (new year, new me). Or that it may  bring them some kind of different life. As though there is some kind of divine being in control of their fate, a ‘Sky Wizard‘ if you will!

I’m not about to start waxing lyrically about how I’m a pessimist, or a realist (of which I am neither) or any other kind of ‘ist’ really. If I was forced to choose one like my very existence relied upon it, I would be somewhere between optimist and opportunist.

For me, I strongly believe that we are in full control of our own destiny. We are our own Sky Wizard, and as such, it’s up to us to get about fixing the things we don’t like. And let me tell you, there was a lot about 2016 that was not to like. I’m sure everyone has their own list of reasons that 2016 could fuck right of and your probably damn well happy that it has!

However, on the other hand, there was a lot about 2016 that was to like, a lot!

2016 was a year of change for us in the Edge household. The first half was pretty mundane. Work was pretty straightforward, Mel was plowing through her pregnancy (and bags of chips) with flying colours. Lucas was getting in trouble looking under the toilet doors as school (to see people wee), and we were fostering rescued Greyhounds. By all accounts, most likely an average 6 months in an average Australian family of 3.

The second half of the year was where things got interesting.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the highlight of my (our?) year was finally getting to meet Flynn. You can read the story of his Birth here. He is an incredibly sweet, calm and easy going little boy. He has brought a sense of calm to us both that we didn’t know before, both Mel and I love him dearly. As we do both of our sons.

Mel had made the decision to take a full 12 months maternity leave after Flynn was born. A decision that had (and still has) my full support. When Lucas was 6 months old, Mel made the tough decision of returning to work. Even though things have worked out fine, has always felt that this was the wrong thing to do.

And you know what, even though money is tight, we shop at Aldi, and no longer eat meat, things have been great! Both boys are thriving, Mel is a lot more relaxed (most days) and she has an incredible bond with the boys that is completely different to mine.

I reckon anyone that claims to be a perfect father is fooling themselves, but not fooling anyone else. Parenting is hard work! It’s the hardest bloody thing I’ve ever done. And it’s a heck of a lot of responsibility. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way? It’s our job, to care for, nurture and mold this person into the kind of adult that will be able to function in an ever changing society. That’s some heavy shit right there! I’m flat out most days just getting myself to do the things that I need to to get through my day. Brush my teeth, shower before work, no sugar in my 4th cup of coffee for the day. And that’s before 8am.

For my brother and I, we grew up in a pretty typical household. Dad worked (a lot), Mum did the household stuff, and we went to school. Both my parents are fantastic. They sacrificed everything to bring us from the UK to Australia in 1989, so I’m not about to get on my soapbox about how my childhood was hard, and that it’s not my fault that I am the way I am. But it is you see. Yes, Dad was quite authoritative and at times dictatorial, but we were kids. Pushing the boundaries, testing the limits and creating chaos wherever we went.

Do I want to be that kind of parent to my boys? No. Am I? Sometimes, yes. And it’s not until it’s too late, that I realise that I am slipping back into learned habits.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking ‘Why the bloody hell is he banging on about his daddy and 1989 when this is supposed to be about 2016?”. Well, I do have a point, and I’m getting to that (Shush Mel, my stories are important, however meandering.)

Back in October, we had Lucas assessed by a pediatrician. A pediatrician that charged us $400 to have us and his teacher do all the work for her. (I’m definitely in the wrong line of work.) Long story short, she came to the conclusion that Lucas has symptoms that suggest he has ADHD. I say suggest because I’m still not convinced, or i could just be reluctant to label the boy. Nonetheless, he does behave different to other boys his age and has issues recognising boundaries and when Mum and Dad are feeling the pressure of a constant barrage of begging for the tiniest morsel of our own dinner. Coincidentally exactly the same as his.

He can be an incredibly sweet boy, and has an amazing zest for life that i think all adults forget. Life has a nasty habit of making us get way too serious about things, and we can sometimes forget to have a sense of humor.

And here it is, the point of the last few paragraphs is that coming out of 2016 and in to 2017, we’ve had a lot of changes in our household. Quite significant ones at that. Most notable is the obvious additional mouth to feed (good on you love, you’re boobs are doing a great job!), we’ve had a significant drop in income while an increase in expenses and lastly. We’re having to completely redesign the way we parent. And it is unquestionably more of a lesson for Mel and I than it is for Lucas.

So here I am, jumping on the bandwagon that is full of people that proudly chime “Fuck off 2016!”, as we launch into what I’m going to call “Fuck yes, 2017!”

That’s all for now. I’d love to hear what you have said goodbye to in 2016! I’m sure you’ve got your own stories to tell.

If I’m not back in 5 minutes. Just wait longer!

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To the Man who failed me..

Three words come to mind when I think of my Dad.

Narcissist, Selfish and Liar.

These days I have developed a love/hate relationship with my Dad, and to be frank with you it is leaning more towards hate. Growing up  I lacked a positive male role model and this was pretty evident when it came to the type of man that I would attract. There is this understanding that Father’s often influence the men we choose as partners. Thankfully, after several dud relationships and a lot of self love I was able to find and marry a genuinely lovely man and now share two gorgeous boys together.

Dad failed me before I was even born. When my Mum was several months pregnant with me, she discovered that he was having an affair with an another woman/women. I don’t know much about what actually happened during this time, but I remember being told a by Mum. She phoned him at the local Pub and threatened murder if he did not call it off! I was only a couple of weeks old at this point.

Dad failed me as a child.
He was an alcoholic, gambler, womanizer and chain smoker. Thinking back to when I was seven or eight, I remember coming home from school, and I was made to run to the laundry to fetch a bucket for him to vomit into. There was this other incident where I came home with my Mum to find him passed out naked on the floor of our lounge, head phones still attached to his head. This was the norm for us. Each afternoon after school, I would be given a gold coin and spend at the local Milk Bar. This was mostly done to keep me out of the house so he could drink until he was drunk. I also forgot to thank him for high dental bills due to regular fillings. Thank goodness for Health Insurance as I simply could not afford the bill.

His alcoholism was so bad that he hid his cans of beer in the cistern of the toilet and threw his evidence over the fence, into the back alley. There were so many, they required several large garbage bags after a neighbor demanded them removed. At the peak of his addiction he drank methylated spirits just so he could get that hit. He almost lost his job as a signalman for the Victorian Railway because he often went and continued to drink at work.

For obvious reasons his addiction placed pressure on his marriage to my Mum, so the fights and arguments were pretty gargantuan. I would be screaming, tears streaming down my face yelling at them to stop fighting. Mum once knocked him unconscious with a vacuum pipe, and even though it had a huge bend in the pipe it still continued to work well. I once got in the way of their argument. Dad grabbed me by my hair and aimed it at our glass sliding door causing it to crack. Plus at the peak of their fighting, knives were once drawn. Dad was warned by the Victorian Police that if another DVO was submitted then he would be removed from the home and would likely spend a short period of his life in jail. This was my life…

Dad failed me as a young woman.
Thankfully by then Dad had given his alcohol addiction away. However having an addictive personality it was always replaced with something else. I was troubled, and made very poor and uninformed choices, mostly because of my toxic home environment.

Have you heard about the cycle of domestic abuse? This is what I learnt and experienced during my very first relationship with a boy. I was fifteen when I first met him, he was a good eighteen months younger than me. Looking from the outside, he came from a well off and intelligent family however he was an abusive, controlling, manipulative and jealous young man. I was never given insight on how to respect myself or gain the respect of others, especially from boys. Looking back, its sad that I would have preferred to spend time with an awful boyfriend than be with my family. Plus the fact that nothing was done to help me.

Dad failed me as a woman.
Dad continued to have affairs, and this is what broke the camels back for my Mother. I was and remain thankful that their marriage was finally over. It was sweet relief, because honestly it was all I ever wanted. I wanted normalcy, I wanted the dysfunction to end, and most of all I hoped that I would have a better relationship with both my parents. There has been turbulent times with my Mum, but our relationship has just continued to blossom. I love her dearly, and it is nice to know that she is so thankful to have me as her daughter. However the relationship I now have with my Dad has only deteriorated further. Mostly after the way he treated my son Lucas when he was last visiting. He is known as Grumpy Poppy which is just sad.

Dad has failed me today.
I have two gorgeous sons, one he has met and one he is yet to meet. You see, I live in Perth and he lives in Brisbane so there is no denying that the distance is great. But, his partner and her mother will be flying to Perth next year, and he has decided not to come. He was even offered to have his flight paid for by his new mother in law. This broke my heart, and yet after having a confrontation with him he still chooses not to come. I have gotten to a point in my life where I think to myself if he was just not related to me, I would not pursue a friendship at all. So…why should I pursue a relationship with a man who chooses not to reciprocate my love?

What I am thankful for today. I am thankful for who I am. I like me…no, I love me. If it was not for my dysfunctional upbringing, I would not be the person I am today. I am a helper, I am a doer, and I love those who love me unconditionally. I am thankful that my sons have a positive role model, and I am thankful that I have a husband who respects me.

Thank you Dad for teaching me resilience, compassion, empathy, developing a thick skin, and having the ability to speak out. However I am not thankful for how I acquired these traits.

I feel better, I needed this post.

Much love

Melanie xx

 

 

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