Posts Tagged ‘ADD’

New Meetup Group: NYC ADD/ADHD Superstar Kids!

NYC ADD/ADHD Superstar Kids!

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This group is to join parents and children of NYC together that are dealing with ADD/ADHD. This forum will be used to discuss how we live our lives with children of ADD/ADHD and other facets of our children’s lives. We are all dealing with medications, school, family life and other areas where we tend to struggle with from time to time and I would like to meet other parents that can share their advice… [read more]

Patience and Foortitude, Part 3: Just Foortitude This Time, With Special Guest Appearance By Windex

June 16, 2011 3 comments

As I picked up pieces of mushroom from the bathroom floor, I noticed that my foot was bleeding ever so slightly – I must have missed another tiny sliver of glass. I silently (okay, not so silently) cursed Corelle, makers of the supposedly unbreakable dishware. The only thing that kept me from becoming hysterical was brainstorming potential titles for my post this evening, because I sure as hell had a story to tell.

It started off as a Medium kind of day. James had a medium morning, not thrilled to get up but not upset enough for any theatrics. My 2 year old discovered bras today, and spent the morning putting bras on herself, her head and every stuffed animal in sight. Only medium cute after she got two clasps stuck in her hair and bent them – I don’t have that many bras. My cranky, crying, screechy, teething 8 month old was having a not-so-great day, but one out of three isn’t that bad – it’s almost a given that at least several days a week, one of the three kids is going to have a not-so-great day.

So let’s fast-forward to see how things got from Medium to Extreme (see Patience and Foortitude Part 2: Extreme Parenting).


I picked James up from school and we paid our fifth trip in a row to Walgreens. The pharmacy had misplaced one of his prescriptions I had dropped off the week prior, and because I might sell Vyvanse on the black market we had to have a whole new prescription written and mailed in. The pharmacy called our neurologist (who for now shall remain nameless) last Tuesday, June 7th, but apparently they did not mail a new script until Friday, June 10th. Monday, June 13th rolled around – still no script, and now I had run out of Vyvanse for James. So, since Monday we had been making a daily pilgrimage to Walgreens to check for our prescription, and when it wasn’t there, pick up a single pill to tide us over.

Today was no different – the mail from “Friday” still had not arrived. We waited for 15 minutes for our single pill, and I left with a medium amount of frustration. Let’s be honest, 15 minutes in “Multiple Kid Time” really feels like at least an hour. I mentally added another 30 minutes because I had a fussy teething 8 month old baby strapped on.


On our way home James stops to stare at a beggar sitting outside of Duane Reade. The man calls over to him and James, instead of walking away or toward him, just kind of stands there and stares. I give him a little poke in the back to keep things moving (my 8 month old is still crying and my 2 yr old has stripped down in the stroller to her diaper at this point) and James, in his usual style, reacts as though I  have stabbed him.

He is still kind of grumbling about it as I carry the stroller into our building. An older woman is holding the door and as we walk through James explains to her, “It really hurt when my mom nailed me with a nail in my back.”


Homework done after only an hour of prodding. Baby still screaming – nursing, laying him in the crib, carrying him around, even the plastic cup of water is not distracting this guy. I can tell the noise is getting to James because he repeatedly claps his hands over his ears, none to gently. For those of you who have not had the pleasure, my 8 month old sounds eerily like an amplified tea kettle when he is screaming. It is truly an ear-shattering experience for anyone, let alone James and all of his noise issues.


Husband working late for the 6,893rd day in a row (in “Multiple Kid Time” this is not an exaggeration). Despite continued screaming, I try to make the best of things and let the kids help me cook dinner. James and my 2 yr old get into a fight over the pasta and spill the full strainer into the sink. I put some pasta on paper plates for them and set them up at the other counter. The sink looks clean enough – pasta goes back into the pot.


I walk into the kitchen where my 2 yr old is working on her second banana. She looks up with a guilty expression on her face. I see more pasta and half a peach on the counter. There are banana peels on the floor and banana juice everywhere. Banana juice? Wait a second… my daughter has already dashed from the kitchen as I realize what has really happened. There is a pair of pink underwear on the kitchen floor too. Banana juice, good grief – I must be losing it. I get the Windex out.


The baby is finally down for a nap. Kids are helping to set the table. My daughter grabs a stack of bowls and runs out of the kitchen. “Come back here,” I call. “We need to put food in those bowls!” She tears back into the kitchen and promptly drops the bowls on the floor, where they all shatter. In an effort to escape the situation, she runs back out of the kitchen, through the broken glass. Corelle, I am very disappointed in you.

Miraculously, her feet are untouched. I wish I could say the same for mine.


Glass cleaned up – I even re-Windexed the floor after sweeping to make sure I got all of the tiny pieces. Baby still napping – hooray! I feel bad about losing my temper over the bowls so we make Shirley Temples together for a special treat. We sit down for dinner – James and his sister fight over seats and the last remaining glass bowl. I eat from Bob the Builder plasticware.


I go to start the shower for James and stop dead when I open the bathroom door. There is poop on the floor in front of the toilet – ugh. I hear my 2 yr old running away as I call out,” Who had an accident?” (I would’ve run away too at this point.) Apparently she has decided to clean out her own potty chair and this is the result. I go back to the kitchen for some plastic  bags. And the Windex.


I am sudsing James up in the shower when tragedy strikes. Some water gets into James’s ear! He goes crazy and the shower now becomes a soap-crazed wrestling match. Shouts of “You’re getting me wet!” and “Don’t touch my ear – you’re hurting me!!” can be heard throughout the apartment, and there’s no telling which one of us is yelling what.

The baby is woken by the shower extravaganza.


I carry my 8 month old out to the dining room. My 2 yr old is sitting at the table with a bottle of Windex and a roll of paper towels. The table is covered in pools of clear liquid. The bag of bread and tub of butter is covered in Windex. The mail is soaked through. The dishes are wet. I put my daughter into time out, put the baby down and get to work on the mess – they both immediately start screaming.


I grab the baby and go to get James out of the shower. James is happily standing in the shower coating himself in daily shower cleaning spray. He is pretending it is a gun of some sort, and seems kind of annoyed when I interrupt (very loudly) “What are you doing???!! Put that down!”

I re-shower James as my 2 yr old comes in to poop again. This time I am there to empty the potty chair for her. Or so I think. As I straighten up with the bowl in hand (and baby in the other), my daughter tackles me, screaming “I can do it my big girl self!” The bowl spills all over the floor. I put her back into time out, send James to his room to get dressed, and put the baby down again. Complaints all around. I go get the Windex.


We are all seated back at the table, playing a makeshift version of Pictionary before bed (I am working on a post that explains the modifications I make to regular boardgames for James). James draws a great insect and my daughter makes four circles for “Four Eyes.” They both guess that my golfer is a woman sweeping. I fill two little cups with mini-marshmallows as a joint dessert/prize for kicking my butt. I feed the baby a late dinner of yogurt and pasta.


I am sweeping up the kitchen and dining room while my daughter follows me around whining, “Hold me, mommy, hold me.” I am already holding her brother. I compromise by singing all of the songs from The Little Mermaid as I sweep. James joins in – it is a sweeping success.


I give James his medicine and send him to wait in his room while I put the leftovers away. My 8 month old is quiet now, as long as I am holding him. As I silently congratulate myself on my one-handed mastery of packing food away, he casually swats the tupperware, sending it crashing to the floor below. Pasta, sausage, mushrooms, onions and tomato sauce are everywhere. I place him on the floor. He starts to cry while simultaneously eating as much pasta as he can get his hands on. I get out the Windex.


We are all camped out in James’s room while I read The Magician’s Nephew to him. Against direct orders, my daughter is repeatedly jumping off of James’s bed to make her little brother laugh, and is succeeding. She accidentally kicks him in the head. I put her in time out. I finally finish the chapter with two babies in my lap, sniffling.


I tuck James in and we all have an “air-kiss battle” for a few minutes, where we see who can smack who out of the room with the best air-kiss (think Mario meets Star Wars). James wins, much to my daughter’s dismay. One kid down. My mood lightens considerably.


I am laying in bed with the two babies, reading Goodnight Moon for the third time in a row. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – I’ll read this book sixteen more times if it means more peace and quiet followed by sleep. Thankfully, it takes only one more read.


I sneak out of my room and duck into the bathroom. I step on something soft and squishy. I take a deep breath and look down. It’s a mushroom. Huh? On further examination I can see at least half a dozen sliced mushrooms on the bathroom floor. I also notice a red smear on the floor and realize it’s coming from a piece of glass still stuck in my foot from earlier. I grab the Windex.


The Tale of the Mother, the Son and the Online Auction

Once upon a time there was a very thrifty mother. She was really very thrifty, always on the search for the next deal or discount. She had been this way for as long as she could remember and was proud of the many ways she saved money for her family.

But even thrifty mothers have secrets, and this mother kept a big one from her children. Late at night or early in the morning while her children slept, the woman bought her children toys. But not just any toys. Toys on Ebay. Used toys at a very steep discount. Her children didn’t suspect her in the least – they were just happy to know that priority mailboxes were often filled with special surprises just for them.

One day two boxes arrived in the mail. The mother explained to her children, “If you are very good today you can each open one of the boxes after dinner tonight.” She knew that one of the boxes was full of Barbie dolls for her daughter – she had won an Ebay auction the day before for $8. The other box was for her son, James. It contained 32 Garfield comic books, his very favorite cartoon character for many years. James had spent the last 2 years reading the same 3 Garfield comic books every night before bed, so the mother was particularly excited about this gift. On top of it all, she had won the entire collection on Ebay for $8.50, a real steal.

James waited patiently all day long for his big chance. Toward the end of dinner, James asked his mother, “Can I please open my box now?” “Of course,” said the mother. “It is the best surprise ever. You are going to love what is in that box!”

James rushed over to the door. The mother could hear him tearing open the box. Then there was silence. “Can you believe it?” asked the mother. “What an amazing surprise came in the mail!” There was a long pause, and then James replied, “Wow, mom. Thank you! This is a really nice present!” “Well, come on,” said the mother. “Bring them out to the living room and I will let you pick one or two to take to bed this evening.”

Slowly James walked into the room holding the box. Of Barbies. The mother quickly realized what had happened and exclaimed, “No, James! Open up the other box!” James obeyed, leaving the box of Barbies on the floor where his little sister rushed over and began to play enthusiastically. Shortly James returned, beaming, with a much different box in his arms. He spent the remainder of the evening looking through his new treasures and selected 2 special books to read in bed that night.

The mother laughed to herself that night, while also thinking, How very lucky I am to have such a sweet, appreciative son. He has such compassion toward others that he didn’t want to disappoint me by not liking his “gift” of Barbies. James may be handicapped in many ways, but there is nothing disabled about his heart. 

She went to bed that evening feeling grateful for her children, and for Ebay.

May 23 – Free Lecture on ADHD


Pulitzer Prize wining journalist and author will be speaking about her latest book Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention. Ellison will read from her book and engage parents in a discussion of cutting edge research on what works best for children with behavioral and learning challenges related to ADHD. The book is based on a year long investigation inspired by her son’s and her own diagnosis of ADHD.

Monday, May 23, 2011
The IDEAL School of Manhattan
4 West 76th Street
New York, NY 10023
P: 212-769-1698

You can register on the school website, or call Kevin Crook at the Ideal School.

Special Needs Baseball FAQs – starts April 17th in Riverside Park!

Here is a follow up email full of FAQs to those of you who are registered and those of you considering signing up for special needs baseball this season. If you have a question that is not answered here, please email me.
Here is the email from Division Head Jim Karpe:
Your child needs a baseball glove the first day.  That is all.
Recommendation: Avoid a mitt which is too big.  For most of our kids, a glove between 8 1/2 inches and 11 inches is best.
Adult gloves are typically 12 1/2 inches.
Of course a good idea to have some balls at home for playing catch and practice during the week.
The league provides helmets, bats, and balls.  Our preference is to not have you bring your own bat.  And there are certain exotic bats which are banned by Little League.
We are trying out three different game balls this year.  The Majors use a special hard-but-low-mass ball.  Our Minors will use a softer ball which is standard for Little League T-ball.  And to reduce both fear and bumps, our Rising Stars will start out using special softest-of-all yellow-foam balls that were originally developed for pitching machines.  We will make adjustments during the season as needed.
Just south of the fields, a Parks Dept building has Mens and Womens rooms, with entrances facing the Riverwalk.
Just north of the fileds, the Boat Basin Cafe also has Mens and Womens rooms, with entrances onto the circular space, right next to each curving stairway.
I believe all our coaches from last year are returning, though I have not yet heard from a couple of them.  We do need new/additional coaches, due to increased enrollment, travel schedules, and etc– especially for our Rising Stars (youngest kids– Bush league).
If you have friends, relations, neighbors, teenagers who are interested in helping out, all are welcome.  There is a form to fill out, and we will want them to bring a photocopy of their picture ID.
And of course all of us parents need to help out, on the field or off– especially for the Rising Stars, who will be doing a lot of basic skill development.  We will need parents who can run various practice stations, including T-ball batting practice, live-pitching, throwing practice, catching practice, etc.  If you know something about baseball, great.  If not, I can teach you what little I know in about three minutes, and we have other resources available.
Hope to see many of you at the park next weekend!

Patience and Foortitude, part 1

March 21, 2011 2 comments

As I sit on the couch reading Harold’s Circus for the third time in a row in my best storyteller’s voice, with all 3 kids intently listening, I congratulate myself for being such an amazing parent. After all, repetition is good for babies and James lives for things being repeated to him no less than 10 times. The Purple Crayon series is a quality, cleverly written book and I am further fostering my children’s love for reading, one of the great successes in our family. The babies have had several hours outside in the fresh air, James has finished his homework and watched a movie, and dinner has been made ahead of time to facilitate an orderly bedtime. I am awesome.

Flash forward to 3 hours later, when I am furiously whispering to James that he can’t come home with us if he doesn’t stop right now and that he will have to find another family at church that will take him in for the night. The baby is crying, my 2 yr old is trying to run up the aisle and for God’s sake the priest has been giving us a blow by blow of the entire bulletin for the last 15 minutes. I wanted to stay for the last song because I knew James and my daughter loved “This Little Light of Mine” but finally in the midst of utter chaos I give up and began to pack our things. I lean over to James and tell him to get his coat on because we have to leave now. He says “no”. While whining is not unusual for James, a flat out “no” is pretty shocking. I tell him again, and again he opts to disagree. Finally I start to leave the pew and James in his panic not to be left loudly follows, crying, pulling his fleece on backwards, screaming about being stuck in the fleece, yelling about it not being time to leave yet.  I walk ahead of him determined to ignore him, which only makes him run a block ahead of me every time he falls behind so that won’t have to find another family to live with when he is left behind. I tightly grab his hand so that he doesn’t run ahead into the street and he screams “Let go you’re hurting me’ and I am sure at this point that everyone on the block thinks I am abusing him now. I tell him he can have a bowl of cereal and go right to bed. It is 7:15pm.

For Lent I gave up swearing and promised to be more patient with the kids. The swearing part is going okay. The patience part is becoming more of a guilt trip than anything. In fact, I think I am actually becoming less patient because after I get impatient with the kids I am annoyed that they made me break my Lent promise.

I always associate patience with fortitude because of a book I read to James and my 2 yr old daughter about the NYPL lions, named Patience and Fortitude. However,  I don’t think they go together so naturally in real life. I think I have fortitude down pretty well.  When I looked it up the definition is listed as “mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger or temptation courageously; resolute endurance.”  If there’s something I’ve learned over the last 10 years, it is definitely resolute endurance.

It’s not unusual for our days to go something like the above. I desperately want to be one of those parents that keeps a level head and sends their misbehaving children to a time-out without raising their voice. After all, I am the adult and yelling or screaming is for the kids, who lack the wisdom and experience of self control. I know that I am not teaching them anything good by yelling or threatening but it is easy to fall into and it gets the job done faster sometimes. Then comes the regret afterward, that frustrating feeling equivalent with eating a pint of ice cream after working hard all day to stay on your diet.

It’s been kind of awesome lately watching my very tempestuous 2 yr old daughter start to grow out of the tantruming phase. Even at her worst and on her craziest days, I was able to tell myself that she would grow out of it soon, and she is.  It is a very different kind of feeling with James. Don’t get me wrong, most of the time James is incredibly well-behaved, which makes the situation somehow harder. He is not usually in trouble for talking back, hitting, or tantruming. He only escalates to hysteria after he gets “in trouble” for making repetitive or disgusting noises, asking the same question more than 10 times in a row, talking out loud to himself in public, tracing over every letter of a word for 30 minutes instead of doing his homework, taking literally 15 minutes to put a shoe on, wetting his pants because he was playing a video game, crying because his 2 yr old sister took a baby toy from him, refusing to put on his “big” coat when it’s 20 degrees outside, not taking a bite of cereal for a half hour in the morning after a dozen reminders, and on and on.

9 out of 10 times I don’t raise my voice when I ask James to put his shoes on in the morning. Okay, realistically 7 out of 10. It is the 8th time and onward that I begin to feel crazy. Or if I’m being brutally honest, it’s the 5th time when my 2 yr old is running around the house naked with one of his shoes because he hasn’t put it on yet and now James is crying because she stole his shoe, or even the 3rd time when you add to that a crying infant. For some reason, the reassuring fact that the younger two will “grow out of it” and knowing that James won’t has become his “fault,” and it’s not fair. To either of us.

This is only part 1 because I have barely scratched the surface – though I am trying I am sure I will lose my patience a thousand more times, probably 10 more just today. But starting the discussion among others is one way to avoid expensive therapy and also hold myself accountable. I encourage you to leave a comment below with your experience, tricks that works, or anything else you’d like to share.

This morning James woke up, got dressed with only 1 reminder, ate his breakfast in only 3 reminders and even got his shoes and coat on in under 5 reminders. He was pleasant, and I was patient. Or was it the other way around?

unleashing The Foorce

March 15, 2011 1 comment

I am a planner. When we go on vacation, I usually spend hours late at night looking up a dozen different hotels, rental properties and activities so that every possible circumstance has been accounted for including weather, children, traffic, bedtimes, and especially bathroom proximity. I plan my meals for days at a time and make elaborate grocery lists to save time and money in the store. I make huge “to do” lists and desperately rely on a calendar to tell me where to be. I say “just in case” a lot.

I wasn’t always this way. When I was younger I would get out of class on a Friday afternoon, hop into my ’89 Plymouth wagon and drive 4-5 hours to see friends upstate, sometimes just for 24 hours before heading back to work or school. I made plans at the last second, threw some clothes and make-up into the backseat and left. I said “yes” to everything, last minute concert tickets, new jobs, new apartments and roommates, trips anywhere.

Not planning has its downsides. When James was born I went back to school a few days later, a Junior in college on a music scholarship and determined to keep it. A week later James had his first of what would become many surgeries – the nearest major hospital was about 3 hours away from school. Needless to say I hadn’t planned on faxing my homework into my professors for weeks at a time, missing school, or on having a disabled child. 3 surgeries and a million doctors’ appointments later, James was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder, kind of like winning the lottery in reverse. By 1 yr old James had a busier schedule than I did – speech, OT and PT 3 times per week, doctors’ appointments weekly, 10 surgeries before the age of 2. Then came the ABA therapy for 40 hours a week, a revolving door of schedules to manage. It became impossible not to plan, to account for every minute of the day. Then, planning became a comfort, of knowing what was going to happen in a world of constant surprises. Now, 10 years later with 3 children ages 5 months-10, it is a way of life. I am a details planner – doctors, groceries, schedule, parties, therapy, kids’ activities. My husband is a big picture planner – home, retirement, career track, college. Between the two of us we seem to have all of the bases covered, except for when we don’t.

NYC is a great place to be whether or not you are a planner, but my unbelievable planning skills + all NYC has to offer = one awesome mailing list and blog full of plans for the person/people in your life with special needs (and often everyone else in the family). The sheer magnitude of services and events in the city has overwhelmed my planning tactics, motivating me to plan everything while also allowing me to relax because I know that there is always something for James.

The goal of my blog, still a work in progress, is to bring us all together. I firmly believe in “strength in numbers” – the bi-monthly meetings at PS 163 this year have been proof of that. I will post activities, events, meeting dates, product reviews, services and other information geared toward the special needs community here. In addition, I plan to post discounts and coupons specifically for this community. I am excited to get started and of course, have big things to plan!

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