Regarding Mino: An Update
Two years ago, at the height of my headaches and living on the edge of my wits, I started a series of posts "Regarding Mino," documenting our winding road to finding a way to deal with the seeming inability of our son to focus in school.
Back then, I got emails and countless calls to pick him up from school.
I heard statements like, "Maybe he just isn't ready for school," as early as private preschool and kindergarten.
I watched my first grader be relegated to a table in the back of the class because his inability to sit still or focus for any extended period of time made him an "impediment to the learning environment of his peers."
We tried play therapy.
We took everything he could want away.
And finally, when I had tried everything I could... When I had come to the brink of giving up a career that I have worked for and love... When I began to consider that maybe my life would be spent helping him navigate these difficulties... We finally broke down and took him to his pediatrician.
I heard the words that no one wants to hear. I was finally told definitively that my son had ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), and Oppositional Defiance Disorder to boot.
Even typing these words, I can still feel the wave of confusion that overtook me. Multiplied by my guilt at my ineptitude and hesitation to even consider such a condition could have had hold of my child. The cosmic joke is that later that same year I would go on to be diagnosed myself.
I did countless hours of research and got him to a psychologist and psychiatrist before inevitably choosing to medicate my own child with stimulants.
I found myself asking, "If he were diabetic, would I deny him insulin?" - resounding no.
I didn't deny him glasses when I was told he can't see.
So why was I fighting this so hard? Well there's a thousand mom bloggers who could give you their reasons why not. This is not that type of post. I'm not here to argue the merits for or the cons against choosing medication. I'm not writing this as a pro-medication post.
I am writing this in absolute awe.
My son, who previously couldn't even be seated with other students, is a leader amongst his peers.
My son, who I was told would fall seriously behind is now reading books with hundreds of pages and ahead of all standardized expectations.
My son, who once rarely made it to the end of the school day without a phone call home, now maintains superb character and citizenship marks.
He now wakes and makes breakfast for he and his brother without complaint. He packs his own lunch. He reminds me of things I forget.
He is helpful. He is kind. He is congenial.
And most importantly, he is all of these things today without any stimulant medications. A decision he made for himself this summer, when he told me that the medicine didn't control him, and he could control himself.
And you know what? He has.
The most amazing part of all of this, still... The confidence he has now.
There's something to be said for watching your child struggle to hit the "basic" benchmarks, only to give them the tools they need and watch them excel.
To go from daily tears and frustration to seeing them embrace a "can-do" attitude.
If I had to go back and make the choice all over again, I would still choose medication over struggling against the current as we were before.
Medication calmed him until his maturity caught up to his level of energy, and for that, I make zero apologies.
And if you are a mother in my position, I urge you to make every concession on your child's behalf, even if, like me, you don't even believe in ADHD to begin with.
What I have learned is maybe Mino and I are a little wired. A little different. Maybe even a little crazy. But all the best people are.