Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm sitting here drinking coffee and listening to my little guy play Angry Birds Star Wars on my phone, all the while procrastinating on the holiday work I have ahead of me. So what better way to procrastinate than to wish all my Internet friends and family a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope the day treats you and your family well today.

I'm hoping this coffee kicks in soon because I've got a lot to do, with only a little sleep behind me. My kiddo was so excited to go see family today that he woke me up at 5:45, raring to go. This mama is also excited but doesn't have the benefit of being able to take a nap on the car ride a certain 5 year old I know. I can't be upset with the kiddo though. How can you be upset with someone who's so thankful that he has family now that he wakes up super early? We should all be so thankful and grateful.

Okay so on that note, I'm off to make a huge salad, pack, clean up a little bit, feed the dog, put away two loads of laundry and after reading this list, make a second pot of coffee. I think I'm going to need it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy National Adoption Day!

Christopher sitting at the judge's desk, stamping his adoption decree: 7.13.2011
Today is the day 4,500 foster children legally find their forever families. Congratulations moms, dads and kiddos! You made it!

We celebrated today with a free photo session courtesy of Krista Photography. This kind and generous woman donated not only her time and resources but the time of resources of her fellow photographers and friends, all to families who adopted kiddos from foster care. Pretty awesome right?

Our photographer was named CoCo and Christopher was a bit confused, as he thought cocoa was a drink not a name. She was super nice though, worked well with Christopher and I can't wait to see the photos once they're uploaded to the website.

I have to admit, I became really teary-eyed when I saw all those families getting their pictures taken today. There was one family there that had adopted TEN children from foster care. Ten!! God bless them. I can barely handle the one kid I've got and they have ten.

One thing I was really struck by today was just how diverse the crowd was. You had families in all shades of white, brown and black, smiling broadly for the camera; happy for the opportunity to share this moment together. True love doesn't know color, that's for sure. I heard that they registered 80 families today and would have had more but had to turn some away due to space limitations. (We signed up right away so we wouldn't miss out.)

The photos will be ready for our review in 10 days and as part of today's special deal, we'll get a $25 credit towards prints or digital downloads. I can't wait to see them. Christopher is crazy photogenic and I have a feeling I'm going to order several of the photos and send them to Nonnie (my mom) and my brothers and sisters. Merry Christmas!

By the way, Christopher also got to celebrate National Adoption Day with a trip to Kmart, where I bought him, yes, some Angry Birds. Hey what's a holiday without some Angry Birds?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just a Quick Update on the Family

It's been a while since I provided an update on what's been going on in the life and times of my little Christopher so I thought I'd provide one here.

For the most part, all is going well. Christopher has responded well to his strict diet and to his medication so he is able to focus better in school and he's not nearly so hyperactive. I dread the day (if it ever comes) that he builds up an immunity to his meds because they have been a total godsend to us. We'll just address that day if and when it arrives I guess. In the meantime, I am so relieved when he sits on the sofa, quietly reading a book, like he's doing right now.

I did give Christopher some Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup yesterday, which probably has dye and gluten and all sorts of crap preservatives in it, but he wasn't feeling well and I wanted to give him some comfort food to make him happy. All the hyper behaviors came back within an hour though so it's clear that diet plays a big role in managing his ADHD. I will just need to be stricter going forward.

I emailed Christopher's social worker the other day to ask how I could get the DCF subsidy reinstated now that we have a diagnosis. She wrote me back with the name and contact information of who to speak with in the subsidies unit and I will give that woman a call tomorrow. It's not a ton of money but every little bit helps.

I've also got paperwork to fill out so that the kiddo can be tested at school for special ed services. I'm not sure if he'll qualify as it seems the bar is set pretty low but I can only try and see how it goes. He still really needs a lot of 1:1 attention both at school and at home on his work and I want to make sure that this need is documented so that he gets it going forward.

As for me, right now I am getting over a cold and also feel a little like all I do is go to work and come home and care for my kiddo but I do have a few days coming up with the holidays so I look forward to that. I have to admit, I was not performing my best parenting yesterday mostly because I was just plain exhausted. It didn't help that Christopher was up at 3:30 this morning, trying to watch television. I had to get up and put him back to bed and stay awake till he finally fell back to sleep. I'm still feeling a bit worn out but hopefully I can get some decent sleep tonight.

We are leaving in an hour to go to the first birthday party for a new friend from Kindergarten and my kiddo is super excited. It's for a little girl and I bought her a Barbie Styling Head as a birthday gift. Hope she likes it. What little girl doesn't love Barbie?

And that's it for us. Hope everyone is having a great day.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Parenting Tips for Raising an ADHD Child

I've seen that there are so many parents like myself struggling with how to provide the best care to our ADHD children for optimal results. I am blessed because I have worked hard to give my ADHD kid the assistance he needs and the results have been tremendous. My son went from being highly aggressive, disruptive and in constant time outs. He would complain that kids didn't want to play with him and parents would either glare or yell at me on the playground. My kiddo also had lots of trouble focusing in school.

Fast forward to today and now he has friends, he loves sports, rarely gets put into a time out anymore and does well in school. The difference in my child is actually pretty huge.

This journey wasn't quick or easy but it can be done and some of the results are immediate, which will make it worthwhile right out of the gate. My son is living proof. So that said, I thought I would share some of the tactics I've used to help the kiddo be a successful, meaningful, happy member of the community.


Some kids' ADHD symptoms can be managed without medication but my child is not one of those kids. I give him 10 mg of Metadate CD and it has made a world of difference. Before medication, he lacked impulse control which resulted in him hitting, pushing and scratching children, mostly when he was really excited. He also had trouble focusing in school. Now that he takes meds, he can control himself and focus better in school. I've seen the dramatic difference and so have my friends.

I only give my son enough medication to make it through the school day and just deal with the crazy child when he's home with me in the evening. That way he is able to sleep at night. I've heard that insomnia is a symptom of medication and I definitely want my child sleeping at night. Right now he sleeps like a ROCK so that's good.

Just so you know, the idea of medication initially scared me because I heard about all these terrible side effects. However if you can keep the dosage low, there are no side effects, at least with our meds. Also, you need a top-notch medication like Metadate. I'm lucky that our insurance covers its cost because I've heard that not all parents' insurance plans qualify. I'm sorry to hear that. I was lucky in that the first med we tried works wonders for my kiddo but I do understand that for some families, that is not the case. Please be patient and work with your doctor to get your child the help he/she needs. The child will thank you for it in the end.


We are gluten free, dye free and I limit the amount of processed sugar my child can have. We are heavy into the Paleo lifestyle (lots of protein, fruits and veggies and very organic). This has worked wonders for my kiddo and also allows us to keep the medication dosage low, so that we don't have any issues with side effects. Even before I started the medication, I noticed a difference in his behaviors. He was still impulsive but not nearly as aggressive. So the clean diet has eliminated about 60% of the problem and the low dosage of Metadate does the rest.

Just an FYI, if you're going for a clean diet, you'll need extra time at the grocery store because you are now going to be reading every. single. label. This takes times. Also, you'll need to know where all the truly healthy food is shelved and this also adds to the time you need. It's confusing and time consuming, but so worth it in the end.


I give my son a dye-free multi-vitamin called Yummi Gummy Bears. Yes I know that there is sugar in the gummies but it's such a small gummy and the kiddo thinks it's a treat because it tastes so yummy. I just have to make sure he brushes his teeth well after eating one.

Side note: I had tried out the Omega-3 and DHA gummy but discovered it made my son super sleepy. I noticed it but thought at first he was just fighting off a bug or something. But then it became so bad that his Kindergarten teacher actually emailed me to say he was "foggy" in school, so I immediately stopped giving it to him. I don't know why this happened but I just wanted to let people know in case you experience this for yourselves.

Magnesium vs. Melatonin

Some ADHD kids have trouble sleeping and I've discovered that Magnesium is a GREAT cure for insomnia. My son doesn't suffer from insomnia but I have all my life. I've started taking magnesium every evening and now sleep SO well. I've also discovered that it has cured my migraines, which I had been getting daily due to the changing seasons. I have read that 50% of migraine sufferers have a magnesium deficiency so there's apparently a known correlation. So if you have migraines, you might want to try magnesium as well.

Side note: Some parents choose to give their kids melatonin for sleeping but I've read you should not do this on a daily basis. It takes away the body's ability to naturally get tired on its own. Plus, kids will eventually build up a tolerance and will need a higher and higher dosage. I've read about kids getting nightmares from the higher dosages so I stay away from all that. Magnesium is definitely a much better way to go.

Regarding magnesium, you could give a supplement or give your child (or yourself) a lavender Epsom bath of no longer than 20 minutes (or else you start to sweat it back out). Epsom salts are full of magnesium and so a bath is a healthy, relaxing way to get the magnesium you or your child needs to sleep.


My very active son needs tons of exercise. If he doesn't get exercise starting first thing in the morning, he often gets himself into trouble. Unfortunately, "first thing" to my child is often 6am so as a mom who is NOT a morning person, this has been rough. I've had to change my own ways in order to accommodate the needs of my child and I do it because that's what we moms do. So if you find your ADHD kiddo acting out in the morning, make sure they're getting the exercise they need to provide an outlet for all that energy. The saying, "idle hands are the devil's workshop" is SO very true for ADHD kids!

My son goes to the before-school program at 7:15 every morning. He LOVES it. Why? Because he gets to run around the gym for an hour before he has to sit for several hours at a time. It gets all that little boy hyper energy out so that he has the ability to sit still for the rest of the day.


My kiddo is active in the town's U6 soccer league and also takes swimming lessons at the YMCA. Side note: Soccer only worked well once we started medication because he needed that impulse control that medication provided. He stopped hitting and pushing the other kids, made friends, scored goals and felt great about himself. The fall session of soccer has ended but we are already signed up for the winter session, which starts in January.

Swimming was great even before we started medication. Quite honestly, my son cannot hit or push kids if he's swimming because he needs both of his hands just to keep himself afloat. Plus, it wears him out, which is pretty huge for a hyperactive kiddo. If you're having trouble with energy and impulse control for your ADHD kid, I highly recommend swimming as an activity.

Become an ally with your child's teacher

Your child spends a good chunk of his or her day at school and the teacher is a big component of whether your child will fail or succeed in life. You need a strong relationship with your child's teacher. You may not always agree with them but you do need to listen to them. And you need to know how to effectively communicate with them so your child's needs are met without creating any animosity. Too many parents go into school demanding to get their way and that is not the way to handle the situation.

Work with your school and don't fight them unless they are blatantly disregarding the needs of your child. This does happen of course and there are resources out there to help you if that does happen. However I think the first effort at working together needs to occur with open communication.

Setting your child up for success in the classroom

Also, remember that your child is only one of at least 15 kids that the teacher oversees. If your child is hitting other kids and can't be controlled in the classroom, it disrupts all the other kids and that certainly isn't fair to anyone. Do what you need to do to make sure that your child is calm and focused before entering the classroom. That includes ensuring they have enough sleep at night, have a healthy, protein-filled diet (no artificial dyes and processed sugar!) and medication, if necessary. You as a parent have a role to play in ensuring the success of your child in the classroom. Take that responsibility seriously.

The right school services

My son is in an integrated Kindergarten, which means the class size is smaller and there is more focused attention. This has worked wonders for my kiddo because he is getting the help he needs to succeed in his school work.

Individual Education Plans (IEPs) vs. 504s

We are also in the process of getting testing for my son for special education services. His doctor at Children's Hospital thinks he will qualify for an IEP because of his ADHD and so I've got a mountain of paperwork to fill out right now, sitting on my dresser. I will take care of that this weekend.

I honestly don't know anything about a 504 but have read that they exist. I know you can have an IEP or a 504 but not both. But that's really all I do know. If you want to learn more about this option, you will need to research that on your own.

Structure and routine

I have discovered that the structure and routine of school makes a huge difference in my son's behaviors. I actually paid a boat-load of money for a nanny over the summer, thinking that my son needed a break from all that routine but it turned out that this wasn't the best choice for him. It was crazy expensive for me and my son's behaviors actually got worse because he didn't have a strict routine anymore. Once school started again, he was so much better behaved and honestly, really quite happy. He tells me he loves school and that thrills me. And it's a lot cheaper for me too. So win-win all around.

Take care of basic needs first

Is your child hungry, tired or over-stimulated? Is he/she getting enough positive attention from you? Or is your child in need of exercise and thus acting out? Many times an outburst can be avoided if you realize what your child needs and act accordingly. Yes, sometimes that's very hard to do because hey, you want to focus on yourself occasionally. But if you do, just know that your kiddo will probably act out in reaction. No one said parenting an ADHD kid was easy.

Get help when you need it

There are times when your child's needs are bigger than you. That's when you need to get outside help. For example, my family receives weekly in-home therapy to help me manage my son's impulsive behaviors at home. My son also attends weekly play therapy to help him work through his issues and he also has a therapeutic mentor, which is kind of like a Big Brother but comes with a social worker degree. These services have been huge for us as a family and I can honestly say that Christopher is a much different, much better child today than he was when he came to live with me two years ago as a foster child. I am also a better parents because of it. I can't rave enough about the services we've received.


ADHD is a diagnosis, not an excuse and you as a parent need to set firm boundaries and follow through on punishment, as appropriate. Your child needs to respect you as a parent and also needs to understand the consequences of their actions, if they break the rules. 

We follow the 1-2-3 Magic plan and it works well for us. If I start counting "mississippi's", my son knows to stop whatever he's doing before I get to "5 mississippi's", or else he will face the consequences. The consequences generally mean he loses out on something he loves so you may have to take away whatever that reward is a few times before your kid realizes, hey, mom isn't kidding. It's no fun to listen to your child scream and cry but once again, no one ever said parenting an ADHD kid was easy.

Time Outs

If my child is feeling over-stimulated and acting out he gets a time out in his room. I set the timer on the stove for 5 minutes (one minute per year of his age) and if he tries to come out early, I add a minute to the timer. That has worked well to calm him down but also give me a few minutes to calm down as well. Hey, sometimes we parents need as much of a break as the kids do!

Lots and lots of love, encouragement and patience

ADHD kids often lack self-esteem because of their behavioral issues and inability to focus in school. They want to be good but just don't always know how to be. So that's where patience and extra amounts of hugs and kisses come in, to make sure our kiddos know we still love them no matter what they do. My son feels insecure sometimes and he needs a lot of extra reassurance that I will always love him, forever and ever. Just this morning at 6am he starts jumping on my bed and I told him as calmly as I could, "if I get mad at you, I will yell and you don't want that. So please stop jumping on my bed before I get really angry". The kiddo immediately stopped jumping but started crying, saying I didn't love him anymore. I needed to reassure him that of course I still love him but that he needs to listen to mommy too. That worked and he went into the other room to watch Henry Hugglemonster on Disney Jr. I got another 30 minutes of sleep after that, so all was good. Win-win all around.

Get Time for yourself when you need it

Being a parent of an ADHD kid can certainly be exhausting and sometimes you need some fun time as well. That's why I love babysitters! I've got a weekly babysitter who comes every Monday night, who plays with my son and allows me to go shopping, out to dinner with friends or to the gym. Whatever it is I choose to do, it's always about ME. Sometimes we need that and you should never ever feel bad about looking out for your own needs. I think taking a break helps make me a better parent.'re only human

Raising an ADHD kid is tough! In writing all the stuff above about how I'm able to help my son, I want you to know that it's not all sunshine and roses. Sometimes I'm tired or stressed or just running late and I will yell at my son. Nothing vicious...just more along the lines of, I TOLD you to put your shoes on! Do it NOW!!" Some days I feel overwhelmed by life and those are the days I just want to cry. And you know what? That's okay too. Something else I've been battling lately is that I'm just reeeallly tired. Like all the time. My little "alarm clock" wakes me up at 6am every day, regardless of the day of the week and unfortunately, he doesn't come with a snooze button. When he's ready to go, it's time to get up. And right now, I'm feeling so worn out because of it. So we're going to have a quiet afternoon today. The thing is, you do the best you can and try to be kind to yourself when you can't be Super Mom 24x7.

These are just a few of the ways I am able to best care for my ADHD kiddo but honestly, I could write a book on the subject. And maybe someday I will! In the meantime, I hope these tips were helpful and be sure to share any feedback on what works for you and your ADHD family.

Tis the Season for Giving

This week, my company, which is a very big supporter of giving back to the community, kicked off its firm-wide United Way pledge campaign. The Partners have made it fun to participate by initiating competitions by floor and offering daily drawing for prizes to people who've donated. So far, my floor is in the lead for the tricycle relay race time and all I can say is....the 9th floor rules. Woo hoo!

Representatives from the United Way also came into the story to share the sad tale of a young man growing up under the care of a crack-addicted mother, then bounced around the foster care system, finally landing with his ailing grandmother on a fixed income, failing at school and ultimately turning it all around to become a self-sustaining member of society, thanks to the United Way. Yay to the United Way. Here's my check.

I know I sound a little sarcastic there but as a former foster mom and now adoptive mom, the story really kind of pissed me off. Why? It pissed me off for a couple of reasons: The first is that the foster care system is just broken in so many ways. This child should have been removed from his mother's care when he was born and (most likely) tested for drugs right after birth. There are SO many people out there who want to adopt and this woman was clearly an unfit mother. Yet the state kept taking this child away for a period of time, then giving him back, only to have to take him away again. This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: Do you know what the definition of insanity is? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Under this definition, our state child protection agency is acting totally insane. Scary thought, right?

There are so many people who would be thrilled to adopt a baby from foster care and who would give that child a safe, happy, healthy home. Why does the state continuously give kids back to parents who cannot for whatever reason care for them? We really need to set the bar higher here.

The United Way presentation also bothered me because they were asking me for money for stuff that should already be paid for by my tax dollars. I'm all for donating to kids in need but not if I'm going to be throwing my money away into some dark black hole.

For example, the United Way wants to raise funds for this accomplished young man to go to college, so they came to my firm and asked us all to donate towards that goal. That sounds admirable unless you know that this young man, who has spent time in the MA foster care system, can already go to any MA state university or college free of charge. Here in Massachusetts the program is called: The DCF Foster Child Tuition Waiver and Fee Assistance Program. Many other states offer similar programs and many colleges will provide scholarships to foster kids. There is also Federal funding available. So basically this kid could go to Harvard free of charge, if he so chooses. Why am I giving money to the United Way then?

Also the United Way's story talked about how this young man didn't have enough food because his grandmother was on a fixed income and she couldn't afford to feed him. And that would be why he had to drop out of he could get a job that allowed him to eat. Once again, here in MA there are programs available to this young man through our tax dollars so why are we double paying through donations to the United Way. This grandmother should be getting a daily stipend from the state if she's legally caring for her grandson. Also, she could apply for food stamps and free housing. It won't be glamorous housing but it will be a roof over their heads and they will be warm and dry. Lastly, the city of Boston has recently started offering free lunches to all kids attending public school so all grandma has to do is feed her son breakfast and dinner. Lunch is paid for courtesy of our tax dollars. That's on top of the aid grandma already qualifies for as a legal foster care guardian.

One of the reasons I love living in Massachusetts is because there are so many services available to foster parents and to adoptive foster parents. I get free MassHealth for my son and I will now re-apply for my stipend again because we have a medical diagnosis and I will most likely qualify for state funding because of it. Through MassHealth I can get Christopher weekly therapy, a therapeutic mentor, care at one of the nation's top children's hospitals for his ADHD (Boston Children's Hospital), medication and dental care. I just took Christopher to the dentist, got four cavities filled, all for free. It was great. (Well great for me. Christopher screamed at the top of his lungs the entire time.) With rising health insurance costs, this all comes in very handy and allows me to get my kiddo the help he needs to heal from his history of trauma.

Bah Humbug?

Just so you know, I'm not all bah humbug about donating to charity. If the United Way can funnel my donations to an agency of my choosing, I'm happy to donate. If not I will just find a charity on my own because I know there is LOTS of need out there. The people of the Philippines for example are in dire need after a hurricane came through and decimated much of the country. I just want to make sure that my donations are going to a cause that will truly help those in need, as opposed to just throwing money at people that just need to make a little bit of effort to help themselves. I'm all for a hand UP...not a hand OUT.

So I guess what I'm saying is, this holiday season, it's important to remember those around you who are in need. Be thankful for what you have and donate freely. But first, make sure to perform your due diligence and make sure the agency receiving your money is worthy of the funds. I don't know about you but I don't have a ton of money and I want to make sure that the money I donate really is going towards a good cause

A great place to check out how well your charities measure in giving the money you donate to those who could actually benefit from it is The Better Business Bureau.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tasty Gluten-Free Pancakes Packed With Nutrition

This recipe is from my friend Amber. She tells me her son loves these pancakes.

Gluten-Free Casein-Free Yummy Pancakes

When we first went GFCF, my little guy lost weight. I created a recipe for these "pancakes" that are a powerhouse of nutrition and calories. I make a bunch and freeze them so we can have them on the go if we need to. Delish!
  •  1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup of sweet sorghum flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw almond or hazelnut flour
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds and/or flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp of honey, sugar, or agave (all optional)
  • dash of grey sea salt
  • 1/4 cup leftover smoothie, or chopped kale, Pom juice, or mashed banana...etc. you get he idea
  • 1 to 2 tbsp of coconut shreds
  • optional is 1 tbsp of rice flour if you need to thicken it up
  • 1 tbsp of ghee (clarified butter)
  • dash of cinnamon

dash of gluten free vanilla extract

Melt the ghee over medium heat in a small fry pan. Mix everything else together. Fry it in 2 batches. Makes 2 pancakes the size of your hand. I cut into little squares with the spatula and pop them into a wax paper bag for his lunch. You can sweeten with honey or maple syrup as a treat. Also, you can cook them in coconut oil, but do it over low heat and be patient.

This is worth the trouble and they get easier to make once you have all the ingredients on hand.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Our First Time With Back Up Daycare Was Great!

Bright Horizons Family Solutions

I scheduled a two-day training at work, not realizing until after it was too late to reschedule that my son's school was closed today. "Professional Development Day." Ugh. Really? On a Tuesday???

I panicked a bit but then found a friend who wanted to babysit for the day. Great! I got some free passes to the Science Museum, wrote up the address of the YMCA and patted myself on the back for being so industrious.

Then this morning I check my email and my babysitter had sent me a message saying she was sick. Aside from the fact that she really should have called instead of leaving me an email, I was now panicking again. What was I going to do? I HAD to go to work today. But now I had literally 30 minutes to figure out what I was going to do with my child for the day. I then had the bright idea to use the back up childcare my company offers through Bright Horizons.

I wasn't sure how Christopher would react because new experiences scare my kiddo terribly. After being bounced around from foster home to foster home, he used to be so afraid of change. He apparently would ask his caregiver when dropped off at daycare in the morning, "am I going to still live with you tonight?" He didn't know if the foster parent dropping him off was still going to be his foster parent when it was time to be picked up. How scary!

Even when life settled down for him with me, he still has some strong reactions to change. In his pre-school, just when they switched rooms he would have a week of bad behavior in response. When his friends who were a year older left at the end of the summer to go to Kindergarten, this set off even more bad behavior. Change was NOT my son's friend. So that said, how was he going to react to an entirely new daycare?

I can honestly say, he handled it GREAT! He was a little afraid at first but as soon as he found another child to play with, he was fine. When I dropped lunch off for him at noon, I expected him to come running over to me crying, begging me to take him home ... but he barely acknowledged me. The kids were all in circle time and he was having a great time participating. I didn't interrupt.

Then when it was time to go, he asked me if he could come back again someday because it was a fun day. Wow!! That's so huge for my little kiddo. And such a huge relief for me. I now know I have more options for vacations and Professional Development days. I am just so thrilled that my kiddo is coming along so nicely. Well done Christopher. Well done.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I can't believe that Halloween has actually come and gone already. Where has the time gone???

My little guy wanted to dress up as Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. However, that particular costume cost $10 more than the generic pirate costume from Target. So I just told my kiddo that he was Jake and dressed him as a regular old pirate. He was comfortable, I was $10 richer and everyone was happy. Win-win all around.

Halloween's a tough holiday for a child with ADHD. The sugar and dye from the candy makes my son SO incredibly hyper. Plus the sights, sounds and flashing lights of the night totally sends him into sensory overload and he tends to start melting down. Plus, ADHD kids thrive on routine and this was a night that took us WAY off our normal routine. It can kinda be a recipe for disaster if you're not careful.

I discovered a couple of tips and tricks for a positive Halloween experience and I will share them with you here:
  1. Start earlier, not later. My son really needs his sleep and if he gets to bed too late, it's ugly for him (and everyone else around him) the next day. So for that reason, we started trick or treating by 5:15 so we could be done on the early side. We were done by 7:15 and home in bed by 8:30.
  2. If you sense your child is becoming overwhelmed, make that your cue to leave. My son started to melt down and at first I tried to pull him aside into an impromptu time out to calm him down. Yeah that didn't really work. There was way too much loud activity going on around us. When the whole trick or treating experience started to not be fun for him or me anymore, then we left and went home. It was a bummer because my friends and their kids were still out and about and I personally was having fun. But if your kid's miserable, you will soon be miserable as well. Sometimes you just have to recognize your child's limitations and accept that. I give him credit because he did last for two hours but when he was done...he was done.
  3. Take advantage of the Switch Witch. I want my son to have the fun experience of trick or treating but I do not want him eating 10 lbs. of candy afterwards. The processed sugar and the artificial dye makes him go absolutely bonkers. And not in a good way. So we had a visit from the Switch Witch and that solved all our problems. The way the Switch Witch works is, your child leaves all their candy at the foot of their bed and overnight while they sleep, the Switch Witch comes in and switches your candy out for a requested toy. In our case, we got an Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga Tie Fighter game. My son LOVES it and he's not running around insane, making me want to scream. Once again, win-win for everyone.
Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga TIE Fighter Game

Even though we got home by 7:30 on Halloween night, my son was so incredibly over-stimulated that he was awake until 10pm that night. The next day was Friday and he managed to make it through the school day okay but by the time Saturday rolled around, he was pretty exhausted. So we've had a pretty low key weekend. Lots of napping. But hey at least we'll both be relaxed and well rested for the week ahead now.

Can a Baltic Amber Teething Necklace Ease the Symptoms of ADHD and SPD?

I am in an ADHD parents' support group on Facebook and one of the moms mentioned that when her ADHD child started chewing on her baby's Baltic Amber teething necklace, that the child immediately calmed much so that she ran to the computer to write a post about it.

Now apparently, although it's a teething necklace, you can't actually chew on it. Instead you wear it. The way it works is, you wear the Baltic Amber and your warm skin heats up the amber enough to release traces of Succinic Acid. This oil is then absorbed by the skin and acts as a natural pain reliever and calming influence on children.

I personally haven't tried it but I did some research online and it doesn't appear to be a hoax. Parents are saying their fussy children slept through the night for the first time after one day of wearing the Baltic Amber.
Hey, if it soothes a fussy baby, wouldn't it make sense that it might soothe a fussy ADHD kid as well?

Please bear in mind that it must be Baltic Amber as no other type of amber has the same healing properties. Also, you must wear it next to your skin--with no clothing getting in between the skin and necklace. Otherwise, the necklace won't work.

So if you're looking for a way for your child to get some possible relief from the usual ADHD symptoms, then this might be the option for you. The necklace is attractive and if it also calms the ADHD symptoms, hey all the better. Last but not least, it's less than $20 per necklace on Very reasonable!

If you're interested in checking out the Baltic Amber teething necklace, you can find it at