Friday, November 16, 2007

BAD Mommy Stuff

And I don't type this with a coy wink. This isn't "Bad Mommy" as in I wore an apron to bed last night and told Mr. D he was a "bad, bad boy and needs to be punished." And this isn't "Bad Mommy" as in I was lazy and fed the kids cereal for dinner before shoving them in front of the TV set for the rest of the evening. This isn't even "Bad Mommy" as in I sprayed my kid down with RAID instead of OFF before heading into the woods.

No, this is the "BAD Mommy Stuff" that makes a girl like me not want to have kids because sometimes? The ache in your heart is too overwhelming to absorb.

My oldest, Mr. T is a beautiful child. Seriously gorgeous with big long lashes and thick brown hair. He's also an extremely divergent thinker who'd probably excel in a Montesorri style of school, but I'm a believer in public schools (I'll save that rant for another occasion). He has these weird processing problems that began to crop up last year in second grade. We had parent/teacher conferences last night (in the interest of full disclosure, his teacher is our neighbor's daughter in law, great gal, great teacher, great rapport here) and my son has a report card full of C's and B's and a D. And he works his ass off. He's always the last one done in class. His confidence is eroding while he struggles with timed tests and written instructions and letter/number reversals. He scores off the charts in reading comprehension, but cannot figure out a story problem on his own or spell or write legibly. Mr. T is the ultimate enigma for both his teacher and his parents. It wasn't the type of conference I dreamed about, you know, where I get to hear all about how bright and delightful my son is. I had to hear that the teacher is as mystified as we are and we still don't have any answers on how to help him. He's a good kid, but struggling and it's not even isolated enough to know how to help him.

So we're taking baby steps with some interventions in place (Academy of Reading, memory-building software, and practice workbooks at home. We hope he shows small improvement by the end of the semester. We don't hope for A's and B's. We want consistent C's. We dream for an average child.

Then this morning I had to take Mr. T in for his 4th blood draw since school began. He has epilepsy and we've been messing around with his medication since June and we're still not at a therapeutic dose. So we keep getting blood draws and feel helpless in the face of the only pediatric neurologist in the entire northeast portion of our state. We could get another opinion if we drove 2 hours to Milwaukee. But that's not really an option.

So we continue to not know if we're treating his seizures correctly--they're petit mal seizures, which means he can have them without us noticing. These are the seizures that might be responsible for the huge gaps in his learning to date--the reason he has no phonemic awareness and no word attack strategies. But we don't know for sure.

I always have to take him in for needles, his father's worthless on this count. So again this morning I pulled him from bed and put him in the car. And dealt with his fear. And comforted his sadness. And tried to make him brave and happy like 8 year old boys should be on a vacation day.

And after the draw was over, the nurse double-checked his chart and discovered she needed another tube. Which meant another draw.

Then she blew a vein.

And she still had to go in again.

It wasn't her intention, so I can't be mad at her. I'm mad at the epilepsy. At myself for not providing the right genetic code to prevent this disease in my son. I'm mad at the doctor for not getting his treatment right yet. I'm mad because I don't know how much longer this will last and I don't know if he'll be cured or live with this his whole life. I'm mad because I don't know how to answer my son when he asks if this is the last blood draw or will there be more.

And I know our medical problems are mild compared to things like leukemia and diabetes and cerebral palsy and muscular distrophy. And I know if I feel like dogshit this morning, it's nearly nothing compared to what other mothers are going through as I write this. I feel helpless and angry and depressed. I wish I could wrap my kid in my arms and take all of these problems away. That's the BAD Mommy Stuff.

Makes you sort of wish I'd sprayed RAID on my kids, doesn't it?


  1. Just consider this a big hug! NOTHING is worse than watching your child suffer..whether due to illness, cruel words, or their own mistake. And I mean NOTHING is worse.

  2. You and your family are definitely in my prayers tonight. I can't even imagine what that must be like to go through, as I am only 22 years old and have no idea what it is to really live yet. He's lucky to have you.

  3. Hi--I'm Sarah's Mom and I have enjoyed your writing..the chili one is really very true and funny. I will pray that your son gets the right meds and help to find success in school--I know you will help him as much as possible.

  4. That truly sucks about the Blood Drawing Episode from Hell.

    As for the learning problems--welcome to my world. Have you had him tested for language processing problems? Somehow I'm suspecting that he might have something measurable, in which case that public school you're so in favor of can make adaptations to help him. Good luck with it.


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