Mike and the boys came home this evening, They had a wonderful time. They didn't even use the canoe, though. They found something better......kayaks. They had them for rent at the lake. Mike rented a double for him and Harrison, and Caleb got his own. He had never done it before and found it to be lots of fun. He said it goes way faster than the canoe. (Imagine that, he is only 65 pounds). On the lake they saw loons come up from under the water right in front of them. And the highlight for Caleb.....they saw three Osprey. They even saw them dive and catch fish. (Think nature movie...only live). This was especially great for Caleb because he has been studying birds of prey the last few months and knew every habit, physical characteristic, flight pattern and sound of the Osprey. He knows his facts, it's amazing. Their campsite was lovely, too. Complete with a wonderful band who call themselves....um I can't remember, something about the Appelacian Trail. Some of the members were young kids and they were inspiring to Caleb. They went on a beautiful hike, too. All around they had a great time.
As for the "elephant".......nothing too grave, except maybe to my sons psychological health. You see, it got to the point where he was in trouble more than he was out. We were experiencing (what we found) incurable behavior. I started to understand, a little bit, the frustration that my Dad had with my brother (and maybe me, too). Caleb was constantly pushing limits, testing boundaries, bossing the younger kids, procrastinating like crazy, trying to avoid anything that required physical or mental effort. I could go on, but you get the idea. We found ourselves merely tolerating him, and that is no way to live and a terrible way to be raised. " What is this doing to his self confidence?" we thought. It must feel so bad to always feel like you are in trouble. He wasn't changing his behavior, no matter the consequences imposed. We would set time limits, to no avail. We tried everything. And I don't mean just the mean stuff, like harsher consequences (I saw that totally backfire with my brother.) We tried literally everything. He deserves to be embraced, respected, loved, cherished and valued. He desreves to have a happy life, one where he learns from mistakes and moves forward. HE deserves to have positive interactions with his parents. But it was like the (bad) behavior was always at the forefront and we could only occasionally see past it. For a long time I carried the guilt. Thinking this behavior is a reflection of me and the way I parent him. I can't tell you how many times I resolved to be more positive, more loving, more patient, more open minded, more objective........( it must be me.....it must be me.....it must be me...I need to do something different.) Then admitting defeat, I found myself saying "Well, I'll do my best and hope he turns out ok." Now, mind you, I hate the term used by my Mother..."I did the best I knew how." and I pride myself in doing BETTER than I know how. But this kid had me stumped. "Do I not have what it takes?" I thought. Maybe not. WHAT THE HE**??? He is only NINE (at the time) and I still have alot of raising to do. I can't give up on him now. What am I saying?? It finally occured to me that maybe HE isn't actually choosing his behavior. Maybe there is a deeper problem. (What I call the "ELEPHANT"). Maybe I should discuss this with the doctor. (Now you are thinking...DUH!! I know, I already fell so bad about waiting so long.) Boy has this been an amazing and exhausting journey. But now we are here and our elephant is gone. They call it ADHD. I hate even typing those letters. I have never told anyone, I hate the stigma that is attached to this disorder. I didn't believe in this before he was diagnosed. I thought that Ridalin was just a drug they gave kids to make them fit into a mold in the public school. I know that I can accomidate Caleb's non traditional learning style. It's not about that. That is not why we sought help. It was all of the other things I mentioned above. Caleb is on a medication (not Ridalin, he is on a non-stimulant) and has made a complete turn around. It has literally changed our home life for the better. His behavior was affecting the whole family, I am not exagerating!!! I can't even remember the last time he was in time out or lost a privelage. Love to and from Caleb flows more freely now. His true self shines brightly and I am so grateful to the Lord for helping us to get past our ego's and our "we can handle this" attitude.
I share this story in hopes that it will help somebody else. Please don't judge us to be bad parents. The medication is NOT a substitute for good parenting. (A myth I use to believe, so judgemental was I) And Caleb knows that good behavior is not found in a pill. We have explained it to him in a way that still makes him accountable for his behavior.
It really doesn't matter, anyway. Nobody really understands this until they experience it. We know (the proof is in the pudding) that this was the right decision for our son.