I have thought for months now, if not longer, that Moo exhibits signs of ADHD due to some emotional irregularity. She goes from 0 to 100 in a heartbeat. Her temper flares incredibly quickly at the slightest provocation. And if I don’t catch that special moment before she tips over the edge, get her to calm down, she goes into a negative spiral in which she talks about hating herself. It’s the worst to watch and so difficult to get her out of it. And while Moo is doing great in school, I know that ADHD is so much more than just doing well in school so it’s up to me to make sure she doesn’t suffer.
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As a reminder, Moo is 9 going on 15. Like all little girls, there is a time when one moment she is a little girl and the next you are talking to an adult. It’s nuts.
Moo has been talking about being uncomfortable in her room or in our house. The only place she feels comfortable is in my and Blue Eye’s room. Our home is a safe, warm comfortable place so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that she isn’t comfortable in her own room.
I had the thought that maybe Moo wasn’t comfortable in her own body. It feels as if she is having a lot of emotion/anxiety/overwhelm and just does not know what to do with those feelings. I know I can feel twitchy and want to jump out of my skin when my brain is on the fritz.
Moo has also been talking about not having a best friend and how she sometimes gets jealous when other kids are playing without her. She has been known to give a cold shoulder or hold a grudge when in a fight with her friends. She is a natural leader but simply does not (or cannot) let go of the reigns if the other kids would prefer to play a different way than she wants.
There are a many more things that jump out at me and I’m not sure anyone on the outside would see any issues but knowing what I went through, knowing the few things Moo has confided in me, I felt it was time to take her to see Coach. Who is Coach? Coach is my ADHD coach. And I am so thankful that we went. Not only did I learn a ton about how to get the best out of Moo but I learned a lot about me as well.
A quick sidebar….. If you are a parent reading this and do not have ADHD you’ll notice I made the decision to go to my coach and not our pediatrician. Coach is a licensed counselor that has specialized training in ADD/ADHD. I knew if I went to our pediatrician (who I love) she would do one of three things. She would either 1. Refer me to a psychologist/psychiatrist to get Moo evaluated, 2. Give me script for Ritalin and send me on my way or 3. Dismiss my concerns because Moo’s symptoms aren’t what most people (even doctors) think of when they think of ADHD. I knew Coach would help us create a plan with tips and tricks to help Moo thrive and not just give us meds to “fix the problem”. It’s still possible she doesn’t have ADHD and I don’t want to pump meds into her needlessly. If you read my last post you will see that while meds can be lifesaving, children with ADHD (as well as those without) need so much more to become happy, functional adults.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Our meeting went great. There are no plans on medication, in fact we didn’t even talk about that. Moo is doing great in school so our focus was on emotion and trying find ways to avoid stress, overwhelm and anxiety.
The biggest thing I learned, which seems so obvious now, is the 80/20 rule. The 80% is the action we need to take to avoid issues from occurring. This means having a clean room, picking out clothes the night before, keeping Moo and Boo on opposite schedules (one brushes teeth while the other gets dressed). It also means reducing sugar intake and eating before HANGRY sets in. It means meditating on the regular which for a child might look like sitting in the sun for 10 minutes while playing with the grass with no technology and no other distractions.
The 20% is crisis management. We are still working on that. For now, it means that I do not engage when Moo has passed the point of emotional no return. The more I try and control the situation, if I scream or yell or try reverse psychology, I can make it worse. Way worse.
The 80% part seems way more manageable so I’m going start there 😊
Other things we learned…..
We learned that Moo is an in-charge type of person. We will be better off giving her a list of things to do in the morning/at night and challenge her rather than telling her what to do. She needs to feel independent. When we try and control her, defiance becomes an issue.
We learned how tactile both Moo and I are. We learn by touching and experiencing. It’s natural that things like slime, or putty, or beads running through our fingers or grass on our feet would be something we can use to calm us. I had thought of these things in the past as ways I could help Moo but I never even thought of myself at all. Typical mom, huh? Always thinks about kids but never herself.
We also need to give her space. Without technology and without Boo! Giving Moo space without her little sister will be incredibly beneficial to her. If you have advice on how to tell a 4 yr old to stay away from the sister she worships, I am all ears.
In the immediate future, Moo is headed to her grandmother’s for a few days and then camping with Blue Eyes. I’m going to miss her like crazy but I know she will have a blast.
We see Coach again in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to school starting. Summer = junk food = bad behavior. I’m all set with camp and the amount of candy they allow Moo to have. (She will not be going back).
Lots of scheduling, lots of quiet time… I hope I am up to the task and can keep my own ADHD in check at the same time. Enjoy those last few days of summer, Winter is coming! (sorry, couldn’t help myself)
What’s distracting me?
Work…. Well, sort of. Late spring and summer are quiet for me. As we are heading towards the fall things are picking up and I just don’t want it to. I want to play on the blog and social media. I want to write about my crazy life. Work just distracts me from that 😊. (can you hear me whining?). Unfortunately, I need to make money and I don’t want to get fired so as the weeks move along, Happy Hyper Shiny will need to take a major back seat. Hopefully I’ll still be present on social media and I’ll get content out as fast as I can. I just know it won’t be a lot and it makes me sad. I can barely handle it now as it is. But I will keep my chin up and enjoy it for what it is and try and not let it stress me out.
What’s distracting you?
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