Today wasn’t the easiest of mornings; I knew it wouldn’t be, the children have just had five days off school, four days for Easter and then a yummy, extra day at home. The Easter break had been kind to us and Sarah’s* behaviour overall had been excellent. A little testing at times, but no more than most kids who have eaten their entire body weight in chocolate, and not had enough sleep!
With five days off school, the change in the routine was going to hit Sarah like a tsunami tidal wave and we would all soon be paying for this change in the routine.
It took me 30 minutes to get Sarah out of bed. I was making breakfast and seeing to Alex* and Belle*, while running upstairs every ten mins to try and console and cuddle Sarah out of her slumber. I left her clothes in the middle of her bedroom floor, her sunblock, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush and hairband all sat in the bathroom, patiently waiting for her. We needed to leave the house at 830am and 8.05am; there was still not sign of her.
I helped Alex and Belle get dressed and they sat down to eat their pancakes. We try and give Sarah a gluten and dairy free diet with high protein, so I find I am able to do this with home-made pancakes in the morning. I stupidly tried to make them have more protein, so today I added a scoop of protein powder.
As soon as I had made them, I knew that Sarah would detect the change and refuse to eat them. Alex and Belle started eating them and all was happy; my essential oils were burning and my calm meditation music was playing (the things you do for the peaceful morning)!
Sarah finally came down, her bed was unmade, hair tatty, teeth not brushed and the sunblock not touched, but I knew that I would have to ignore all of this; just smile, hug her and tell her how much I love her!
A year ago, there would have been shouting, timeouts and tantrums, but all that did was make a very anxious little girl, cry, scream and run out of the house in her underwear (I kid you not).
Today I’ve learned that she can’t help it. She is not being defiant or naughty or doing it to upset me, she is simply scared, lost and sad. All because her routine is changing and she can’t cope with change.
Today she wouldn’t eat her breakfast; take her supplement drink and she wouldn’t let me use her essential oils on her, but you know what it’s just today and tomorrow will be different.
As a family we are now learning to understand ADHD, and we are aware that it carries enormous anxiety at times. During these times, I have learned to hug her more, love her more and tell her how proud I am of her. I let her know that I think she is a wonderful, caring, beautiful, kind individual. I am not going to lie, I wanted to scream at her, tell her to sort herself out, tell her that she is nearly 9 and that her 2-year brother is better behaved than she is. I wanted to shout, throw the god damn pancakes on the floor and run out the door effing and jeffing, but where would that get me?
It is hard to parent a child with ADHD, especially when you have ADHD yourself (something that I have come to realise since going through this with Sarah). I get anxious, massively overthink things and I can go from calm to angry within in a millisecond!
But I am learning, I am growing and this morning was hard but it used to be a hell of a lot harder. In the past, Sarah would scream, she would kick, she would be violent and it was so hard to get her out of the door.
Now I stop, breathe, think happy thoughts and do whatever I can to get through it, to keep calm and ignore everything as much as I can.
My husband Kyle* also hugged her, he told her how much he loved her and we all ignored all the bad behaviour. I helped her with her hair and her shoes and smiled through it. And we made it; she left the house for school and we all remained calm.
All I hope is that she has a good day and when she comes home later we can talk about what happened. I can try and get her to make her bed, take her supplements and use her essential oils and tomorrow as my beautiful late Grandma said: “tomorrow is another day”.
* All names have been changed to protect identities