Friday, March 5, 2010

Sea of mediocrity

"Mom, It's like I'm on a boat in the sea of mediocrity and I'm taking on water. I'm bailing as fast as I can but I'm sinking." was my middle son's assessment after six months in his first programming job. The doctor prescribed anti-anxiety medication that he took for awhile but choose to discontinue. When he came home for an attitude adjustment vacation he had the MTHFR blood test done. He has one copy of A1268C and one copy of C677T mutated.

I have experienced and noticed, that this form of the MTHFR mutation displays a whole different set of Attention Deficit traits. The first being that you don't seem to be ADD at all because all of the distraction is internalized. I have and have noticed shy, withdrawn and detached social skills, due to the overload of thoughts and outside stimuli. Also a general feeling of being unsafe, not afraid, but on a continuous state of heightened alert. This makes socializing an added stress that is usually avoided opting for a one on one interaction other than group situations.

I invited seven girls over for my eldest daughter's sixth birthday party. I knew is would be a push on my comfort levels but didn't expect that my daughter would have the same reaction. She was visibly beside herself and cried the whole time. And when my middle son was nine we invited some boys to the ice cream parlor for one of those really big sundaes, he was a wreck to. It seems groups even chosen ones are a hard fit.

My daughter is now in her senior year at University of Vermont and in her studies she learned the definition of ADD to be a failure to inhabit. In the case of this type of MTHFR mutation it's a failure to inhabit the thought process from triggering the stress factors in the body. I live in a state of affirmative meditation, and was unable maintain a sense of calm, until I went on the supplements. Now two years into it I have moments of normal social skills, and that's pretty amazing.

My son is just starting to recognize to difference the supplements make in his PR skills. I can tell immediately when he hasn't taken them though, because without them he's condescending and intolerant with a argumentative wit. And if he can't inhibit those traits he most certainly will drown in the corporate sea.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Creative Material

Wednesdays are no homework hall days for my middle school daughter, traditionally a very difficult day. A day full of excuses, forgotten elements and tantrums, enough to completely disregard the process of completing the assignments. And this week to top it off I received a phone call from the teacher on the absents of work being handed in.

With confrontation inevitable I took some time to write about my issues and the memories of ADD middle school children. I've been through it all before with my three older children. The first time I had less to work with. Less understanding , less answers and less patients. The reason for my children's ADD is a genetic MTHFR mutation which comes on two genes the A1268C and/or C677T, it can also effect one or both chromosomes. There are two combinations of the mutation in my family, with two separate personality types. Both types are managed with vitamin supplements and I began mine two years ago. I'm enjoying a change in myself never before considered. It's an amazing realization that this is what one might call NORMAL. A calmness that was never there day or night settled in. And now I'm able to write things down.

I write stories about my children's behavior and actions. I use my daughter as a catalyst a lot because she triggers the memories. And yesterday I told her I had to write about the call in the blog and I read the part defining the homework process to her. She gave me a sideways glance with a comment about not appreciating being the creative material for my writing. Then I tried to keep her on task, following the steps in takes to get credit for homework.

I write stories of dysfunctional habits, add in some memories and understanding. Then I let her read them, she gets it and the habits change, amazing. It took twenty-six years but I'm finally starting to enjoy being around my children.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A call from the Social Studies Teacher.

The Connecticut Mastery Test started this week and in preparation my daughter brought up the option of taking additional supplements to help her focus better. She has only been taking them once in the morning, a change from when she first started 2 years ago. Then I was giving her the supplements three times a day, but as time went on better chemistry prevailed and she was obviously fine with less.

However, today I also received a call from her Social Studies teacher to inform me on all of the work NOT getting handed in. Boy, does she hate getting caught in avoidance tactics. I've seen it all before with her brother 15 years earlier, and she is following in his footsteps stride for stride. In an attempt to get them into good homework habits the guidance department put them in homework hall. That just gave them another place to explain away the homework. You see the more places it could be the longer you can redirect the people looking for it and the more time you can buy yourself before the truth comes crashing in. In the old days the truth usually came at report card time, today it's a little quicker.

So today when see comes home I'll have to confront her and be met with a barrage of defensive excuses, that usually escalates into crying, screaming and hours of time out in her room. And to top it off the homework doesn't get done and even if it did it, hardly ever makes it to the classroom and on the teachers desk. Explanations of the law of averages never helped either.

I know that when it's important to them to hand in work, when they can see the benefits in a pay check of something they value, it gets done. I trusted that idea when my son was going through it, but today I know it to be true. She passes tests-fails subjects. She knows the material and doesn't take the time to focus in on the mundane, redundant exercise of homework.

Homework is a tedious effort for the ADD personality. First you have to write it down correctly, remember to bring home all necessary tools, do it neatly, put it somewhere you'll be able to find it in a rush of commotion, take it out and hand it in during the mind numbing confusion of a normal day at middle school. So much effort to prove to the teacher you know something you already know you know and was probably board learning in the first time.

I still have control in middle school. Much to their dismay, the administration cannot hold a child back for failed subjects without the parents approval. That right is preserved for high school. My two sons dropped out of high school, passed the GED exam and continued onto college.

My daughter is showing signs of improved judgement and with time and guidance I hope she sees that offers come easier with more compliance to the rules and realize resistance always causes pain on some level.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

He had to be spotted!

On a day when remembrance was critical

Dependability questionable

Tying strings on fingers proved to be inadequate

Instructions heedlessly disregarded

In a time before cell phones

What’s a mother to do?

A better way beyond comprehension…

He had to be spotted

With multi-colored sticky label spots

Enough to make it through the day

There was only one left by the end

And he remembered…

This poem was a result of my 11 year-old daughter forgetting her winter coat in school and the flashback to when her older brother started middle school. They are 15 years apart and have the same Mthfr mutation "one copy of the A1268C." The similar behavioral traits are uncanny, both very witty and intelligent, and both diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Once I had the information on the Mthfr mutation, I began my daughter on the supplements and she is so much better. However, beginning in a new environment like middle school with new stress factors throws the immune system off balance. When sugar levels and heavy metals get out of control her brain activity has a hard time processing the extra stimuli. Things get dropped out of her awareness, she doesn't really forget, they just disappear from her train of thought. The fact that they're gone always seems to be a surprise to her with almost no recollection of their whereabouts. Adjustments were made, a new coat purchased and poetry written of a time when I had no answers or remedies.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Say "What Mom"

Nick is my first born and the Attention Deficit Disorder wasn't completely defined in the early eighties so I was completely overwhelmed. He would wonder off on his own following butterflies or the wind or the beat of his own heart. Whatever the reason I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a minute. A daunting task since by the time he was 6 he had 2 siblings and I had my hands full.

Frustrated, Overwhelmed and Exhausted and I could not get his attention, especially when he was watching the TV. Yelling, Jumping in front of TV, even a physical nudge wouldn't break the spell. Then one day in total exasperation I looked at him and said in a prayer like tone "Nick, Say what mom." and it worked and still works to this day, and works for his now wife who called me with the same issue. Two weeks after she started using that technique he stopped to realize "Hey! Mom used to say that"

He had so much going on in his head that a sharp pull back in reality was too much of an adjustment. A calm and easy attitude and time for him to float away into his thoughts worked out well as a parenting tool.