Rylan Nicole. 11.06.2006.
I still remember to this day the day I found out I was pregnant with Rylan. I had just had major surgery literally a couple days before and was at home, laid up in bed. I decided to venture into the bathroom to shower and while looking for a razor underneath the sink, came across an old box of pregnancy tests. For the fun of it, I decided to pee on it. I know, really weird. Who just pees on a pregnancy test for fun? Well, you'd be surprised! This actually came up once during a girls night out, and I was pretty shocked at how many of my girlfriends have, at one time or another, took a test just cause they say it laying around. So I'm not that weird!
I KNEW I wasnt pregnant, not only was I on birth control, but I just had major surgery, so of course my doctor would have said something.
So I'm sure you can imagine the utter disbelief I had when I saw 2 pink lines on that stick. I literally sat in a state of.....wtf...on the toilet for at least a few minutes. I decided that this test MUST be faulty and thats why it came up positive. So I peed on the other. With repeat results. I didnt even have to wait the full 2 minutes. Again, there is just no possible way. So I shower, and conteplate the situation, while trying not to panic, and finally decided that BOTH tests were faulty, they must be very old. To ease my mind, I called my best friend and asked her to buy me a test and bring it over. Which she did.
By the 5th positive test, I had run out of excuses for false positives. I can't even really tell you what I felt because it was an overload of different emotions. And that was the begining.
ps; The drs. office who preformed my surgery WERE aware of the fact that I was pregnant, it came back in my bloodwork but due to a "miscommunication" among their staff, it was overseen. I swear to this. I decided against filing a malpractice lawsuit, but I did file a complaint against the Dr., who has since been sued multiple times for different medical malpractices. Interesting.
My pregnancy with Rylan was pretty typical, minus a few bad kidney infections along the way, the pregnancy was a breeze. She was due November 20, and came 2 weeks early on November 6, which just so happens to be her grandpas birthday too :)
Rylan was a difficult baby. She was fussy and colicky. She didnt have good sleep patterns from the get-go, despite my tempted efforts to get her on a schedule. She constantly wanted to be held and carried around. I wasn't a new mom, obviously, and figured it to be that I just so happened to have a colicky baby. Her pediatrician wasnt concerned and sent us home with lists of different things to try, formulas, diet changes for myself, ect, ect. But nothing helped and we just...dealt.
People always joke about "the trouble just begining...." when babies get to the age of crawling && walking. This was an understatement with Rylan. From the second she figured out how to get from here to there, she was on the MOVE. She was constantly into things, and went from wanting to be held and cuddled all the time to wanting to be down, where she could roam free as she pleased. We constantly had to follow her around because she would get into any little thing she could. Rylan also did things early for her age, especially when it came to talking.
We knew Rylan was "different" from other kids from very early on. Aside from the fact that I had already had 3 previous children, we also attended alot of playgroups with kids Rylans age group as well. It was apparently obvious that Rylan was incredibly more entergetic, more hyper than other kids. She couldnt sit still long enough to sit and actually play with a toy for longer than 5 minutes. She didn't listen, AT ALL. Threw tantrums at the drop of a hat. Run away all the time and make me go chasing after her. Now, I know you're thinking, big deal, that IS normal toddler behavior. You're right...it is. Except this was EVERY day with Rylan. Not just every now and then she acted up, this was regular behavior for her. Our families stopped wanting to take her as frequently because they couldnt control her, she was to much to handle.
My family jokingly nicknamed her The Hurricane(which we still lovingly call her to this day) because it takes Rylan .5 seconds to walk into your home and destroy it. Rylan took away alot of attention from the other girls. I constantly had to be on top of her, following her everywhere. The second I would start paying attention to someone else, Rylan DEMANDED my attention. If she couldnt get it, she would act out in tantrums or doing things she knew she shouldn't be doing. Cartoons, toys, nothing seemed to hold her attention longer than 10 minutes. I stopped attending playgroups with her because I was embarassed and ashamed of her behavior, and the looks and whispers I knew were going on behind my back that Rylan was "naughty, a terror, misbehaved" or that I coudnt control her. I felt like an utter failure as a parent. I would constantly think...What did I do wrong? The other girls never acted like this, where did I fuck up? I got to a point of becoming depressed and doubting myself as a mother, and utterly frusrated with Rylan.
By the time of Rylans 3rd birthday, Shayne && I decided it was time to take her to her pediatrician and express our concerns. Due to her age, it was passed as "normal" child behavior, maybe she was just a more active child, some kids are like that, right? Maybe. But we knew it was more than that. Call it motherly instinct.
Rylans behavior never got better, no matter what we tried, and believe I tried countless things.
A close friend, who was around Rylan often, gave me a computer print out one day of children with ADD/ADHD. As I read through the print out, I literally was speechless. I couldn't BELIEVE how much of these were RYLAN. Every. Single. One. It was as if someone wrote this specifically for her. I showed it to Shayne, who too was shocked at the similarities.
Rylan is incapable of playing alone/independently. She will constantly get up and down. She'll say MOM, MOM, look, look. And repeat that every 5 seconds. Seriously. 90% of toys and games are useless. She just cannot contain herself long enough to sit down and pay attention. She squirms and fidgets constantly. As least one part of her body is physically moving at one time. Wether shes shaking her leg, rocking back and forth, playing with her hands or hair, talking NON STOP, singing to herself, making odd noises with her mouth. This is worse at night, when its bedtime.
Bedtime. I'm not sure thats even in Rylans vocabulary. Rylan doesnt sleep. She wakes up at around 6:30am, EVERYDAY, and doesnt go to bed(and mind you, NO naps during the day) until 1-2 am. She's in bed by 10 every night. A typical night consists of her getting up multiple times for various reasons; shes thirsty. shes hungry(despite that she JUST had a snack). She needs to go to the bathroom(This is one of her favorites). She needs to brush her teeth. She hears a noise outside. Or simply, to tell me she cant "get tired". In bed, Rylan fidgets/squirms/talks until literally the second she falls asleep. I know because she often climbs into bed with me at night and its impossible to sleep next to her.
She suffers from night terrors. She has nightmares frequently. She sleep walks & talks. She cries & screams out in her sleep. Her eyes will be open and you think shes awake, and you'll be saying "Rylan, whats wrong? Rylan!!" and shes still dreaming, but lucid enough to conversate. It is the creepiest thing ever. This, too, has been something shes dealt with from an early age.
She is a BALL of energy. No, thats an understatement. Rylan never stops. From the time she gets up, until the time she falls asleep, she is on the move. Have you ever seen the Kat Williams skit about his son running up and down the hallway repeatedly for no reason? RYLAN.
Rylan has no listening skills whatsoever. Despite the fact that I have set rules in my house, the same rules taught from the getgo, it doesn't matter. She breaks the rules all the time, fully knowing shes breaking them and simply doesn't care. She has to be told things multiple times. If you ask her to pick up her toys, you have to stand there and tell her multiple times in a row: "Rylan, please pick up your toys now." "Rylan, you cant do "x" until you pick up your toys" Ect, and keep on her until she does it, or she'll get distracted by something else and "forget". I repeat the SAME sentences every.single.day and every single day its as if she is hearing them for the first time. She will sit on time out some days 4-5 times for the SAME offense, despite the fact that each time I am sure to explain to her why shes on time out and why what she did was wrong, ect. It is SO easy to get frustrated and feel like I'm beating a dead horse.
She has the eating habits of a teenage boy. She is ALWAYS hungry, always eating. You would simply be amazed at how much she eats and how frequently. Especially with as tiny as she is.
And her impulse control? Im not sure that even exists. Rylan doesnt ever think before doing something, no matter how dangerous it is(hence the need to constantly follow her every step at all times). Shes the kid who dives into the deep end of the pool every time. Climbs onto everything, including trees/countertops/tables. She'll burn her hand on a hot stove and turn around an hour later and do it again, regardless of the fact that she JUST learned that lesson. Its literally as if she can't control herself.
Its as if sometimes you can physically see the wheels in her head turning. As if she knows she shouldn't do it, and maybe doesn't really want to do it, but HAS to do it. She'll start doing one thing and a few minutes later, is doing something else, and then a few minutes later, doing something else, and I can barely keep up half the time.
This past summer, Shayne && I took Rylan back to her pediatrician with our concerns, but while agreeing with us that Rylan is definitely a different child and absolutely portrays the signs of a child who suffers ADHD, he can't medically give that diagnosis due to her age. So he recommended us to a childrens behavioral therapist. They initially ran some tests, simple tests like normal every day tasks for Rylan and just observing her reactions to things, how she handles this environmental and that, testing her attention span and ability to stay focused and on task, ect. We left with a diagnosis of ADHD. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. No parent EVER wants to hear that there is something "wrong" about thier child or that their child is sick. But I couldnt help but also feel....relieved. Relieved that there was a REASON for her behavior and it wasnt because I failed as a parent. That there was treatment(strictly behavioral therapy, no medications) to help us and help her. Relief that we finally had answers and a path towards a solution.
Rylan is 4 now. Despite what you read, I want to point out that Rylan is CONSTANTLY misunderstood. She is not some sort of hellion, devil child. She isnt purposely naughty or hurtful or aggressive.
This is a quote in a book I have regarding children with ADHD.
"Imagine that you are living inside of a video game, where everything is coming at you at once and every sight, sound and sensation is a distraction. For a child with ADHD, getting through a typical day is something like that—and it explains a great deal about how they experience the world."
Therapy has helped SO much with Rylan and finding positive ways to confront && deal with her issues. We've found that what works best for Rylan is patience and positivity. No matter how frustrated/irritated/tired/impatient I am, she can feel that negative energy and it feeds into her. Rylan responds well to positive reinforcement. Such as constantly complimenting her on good behavior/deeds during the day. Acknowledging those things vocally to her. We have found that Rylan is very creative child. When it comes to art, that is Rylans "thing". It is one of the very, very few things she can actually stay focused on for long periods of time and shes a wonderful little artist. Being outdoors is another huge thing. Taking walks, trips to the park, ect I have found are a great outlet for Rylan. She loves to explore and run around like a wild animal. Games, like Simon Says and Red light/green light. Puzzles and building things with blocks or legos or boxes or rocks or whatever she can find.
Consistancy in discpline. I will admit, this one is the hardest for me. As I said, some days Rylan will have really "rough" days and will find herself in timeout more often than not. I go through moments of feeling bad for punishing her, yet I KNOW that the constant reinforcement and reminder is what she needs. Its frustrating that she repeats the same offenses day after day after day, regardless of how many times we've been thoroughly over them. But thank to the internet, her therapist, and several books I've boughten, I also know that for children like Rylan, this is excatly what she needs. So as hard as it is, and as frusrating as it is, I am doing whats best for her, and thats my only goal. I just want Rylan to be...normal, or as close to it. I dont want her to constantly feel outcasted or looked at as a terror or a brat, like she constantly is.
The true Rylan. The Rylan that I know.....she possesses this....fire about her. She is a spark of light in our lives. She is the happiest little girl I know. She is always smiling, always laughing. She had this energy about her that is so addictive. Its like she is high on life and you just want to be high with her, to see things the way she does, and to be so carefree and innocent. Despite all the difficulties, the frustrations, the moments of feeling like I'm a utter failure as a mother, the moments of anger or guilt and blame, Rylan will have these moments where you can look into her eyes and see her soul. See right through her and see how beautiful, how innocent and good hearted and sweet she is. She is charming and overly friendly. She is never boring, never dull. She keeps me on my toes and feeling young. You just need patience. That is the absolute KEY to dealing with a child like Rylan. Patience. But if you give her a chance, I promise, you'll fall in love with her.
Labels: ADHD, family life, Rylan
♥our lips must always be sealed
What a great post! This seriously could have been written about Jaikob. Like to a T. Though, admittedly, he has calmed down a lot since starting school.
It's is so similar. He had he colic as a baby. Aaron's step mom often says that he was a "bad baby" because he screamed for the first 9 months of his life. Then there is the running off, can't sit still, doesn't listen, can't be in play groups with other kids.
I'm really glad that you found some good tools to learn to help her through life and get some support. I know how hard it is to deal with that behavior but I think that it's beautiful that you are writing something like this and saying "look, this is something she does, not who she is". I know how people do think kids with adhd are out of control or terrors and they see them in a negative light. They aren't that at all. They are beautiful little PEOPLE. People who have so many more dimensions than their behavior and we need to look at the person as a whole and have some understanding for how they experience life.
It has got to be so hard having to hear that something is "wrong" with your child, but I don't think there is anything wrong with her.
She is a gorgeous little girl with a lot of energy and very rambunctious. ADHD is not something easy to deal with but I know that she is perfect just the way she is. She is who she is supposed to be :)
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