Sunday, June 8, 2014

The ADHD Mom and Children's Parties: No Fun!

As many of my readers know, my son was diagnosed last September with ADHD and we've had a great deal of success using a multi-pronged approach of diet, structure and medication to treat it. Our normal day to day lives are so much easier now because of that approach. And that's a very very good thing.

What are you supposed to do when you can't follow your normal routine though? Do you keep your child from going to parties that would be fun for him but a nightmare for you? Or do you say let's let him have this one day of fun and you just suck it up because you want to give your kid a "normal" life?

Case in point: Friday night starting at 6pm, Christopher's school had the end of the school year "Spring Fling". It was an ice cream party (no real food) with lots of sugar and artificial dye, loud music and crazy loud little kids running around screaming. Describing the evening as "chaotic" would be an accurate assessment.

I was nervous about the event and also tired from a long week of being a hard working career-building single mom. But how could I say no to Christopher going when all his friends would be there? He'd cry on Monday if he missed this opportunity.

I will say though that the event as well as the next 24 hours were no fun for me. First of all, the party was at the end of a long week and Christopher was tired. It's a lot harder to control yourself if you're tired. Also, his meds had long since worn off so he didn't even have that going for him. The party was SO loud and so Christopher was completely over-stimulated. Not to mention, Christopher ate so much sugar...for dinner. This kid is normally on a gluten free, dye free, processing free diet so for him to eat all this crap with nothing healthy in his stomach was basically like giving him crack as a snack and letting him loose on society. He was a whirling dervish of chaos waiting to happen.

As much as I hate the idea of being a helicopter parent, I had to shadow Christopher the entire party to ensure he didn't hurt himself or the other kids. To make it even more "fun", the school provided these blow up beach toys in the shape of ice cream cones and the sun. This picture below isn't the exact toy but it's similar. They're made out of the same material as a blow-up beach ball and Christopher and the other high energy boys spent the evening pummeling each other with them. I had to pull another kid off him multiple times, his best friend was so wound up he was literally jumping off of furniture with them and Christopher kept whacking kids to the point that I was afraid he'd hurt someone.

Fun right???

We finally left after 2 hours and went home. I walked the dog, gave Christopher some real food, got him a bath and let him unwind for a bit watching the Kindle. By the time he got into bed, it was 10pm, which is a full hour past his normal bed time. He was exhausted. So was I.

The real fun began on Saturday after Christopher woke up at 5:30am with only 8.5 hours of sleep. He was off schedule, off diet and now didn't have enough sleep and we had to go to soccer at 8:30. Normally he is an amazing little soccer player but this day he was whiny, sluggish and cranky. I was tired and cranky too, so that was not a great combo; even worse considering I'm the coach of the team. I had to send him into a time out at the other end of the field at one point, screaming and crying, leaving my team behind. Thank goodness I have an assistant coach who could take over for me. Sometimes, I really wonder what the parents of the other kids think about us.

After the soccer debacle, I canceled plans for the rest of the day and took Christopher home. I was hoping he'd nap but no, he was just all sorts of cranky all afternoon. Considering I had also been awake since 5:30, I was pretty cranky too. Ugh.

Nothing made me happier than putting Christopher to bed at his normal 9pm bedtime last night. I went to bed soon thereafter and we both woke up in much better spirits today. Thankfully it's still the weekend and we have another nice day to enjoy outside.

Meanwhile, tomorrow (Monday), one of Christopher's friends has a birthday party starting at 5pm. I'm like, are you kidding? A party for 6 and 7 year olds on a Monday night? Initially I had RSVP'd yes for the party but I think after the weekend's festivities, I've changed my mind and will RSVP no. It's one thing to have a party and then have the weekend to recover. It's a whole other story to do this on a Monday and then have to go to school (and work) all tired and cranky for the next four days. No thank you.

But now it's time to get outside and enjoy this great weather. Happy Sunday to all.

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