Third Grade was rough for both me and the Boy.
His teacher was a scattered mess of a person who was inconsistent and bonafide rattle-rattle. When he would miss school for various reasons (collarbone fractured, jacked up teeth, routine check ups, illness) the make up work sent home was a guaranteed five hour minimum if I included bathroom breaks and dinner. I don’t think he got much from third grade other than knowing that I truly did not like this woman.
I think if someone would have told Queenie that I couldn’t settle down and needed help, she’d drag my butt to a bathroom and using a belt, give me all the help I needed. Society has made SOME afraid to be parents. Not that a kid or any person (well there are some exceptions) should be used as punching bags. But a swat to a tush is sometimes needed to get a kid back on track.
The Boy isn’t without his own personality quirks. Sitting still is considered a punishment. He can be cantankerous and ornery. He wakes up and is off, running, leaping, skipping,. The Mister says he has two speeds: Fast and Faster.
He’s also an African American boy. I don’t play the race card. It’s counterproductive and frustrating. However, I feel race plays a part in his teacher’s questioning of whether he had ADHD. Thankfully she asked this over the phone or I may have came to and found myself gripping her up in a corner. I say this because look at society today. Within minutes of the bad call in a recent baseball game, video was posted on just about every available media outlet from Facebook to Google to Twitter. Who can focus on one thing when the world around you is buzzing?
Not willing to accept that this might be my child’s fate, I watched his sugar intake, fed him a gluten free diet, tried a dairy free diet, limited his video game playing, cut out certain TV shows, and sent him to bed earlier. He still continued to have trouble in school.
Defeated, I arranged for the paperwork to come in for us to fill out to test whether he indeed was in need of Ritalin.
Sample questions from the test:
Does your child lie? Does his mouth move?
Does your child try to get out of doing chores? Is he his father’s child? The Teen’s brother? Duh!
Does your child act without thinking? He has a Y chromosome, doesn’t he?
Deliberately annoys people? If by people you mean the Teen, then yes.
Is self conscious or easily embarrassed? He’s a boy approaching puberty.
I did my due diligence and completed my portion of the test. His teacher did her share and the results were read by his pediatrician’s office. I was slightly insulted by this visit. First because I was sent a bill for $45.90 for the visit. Second, the results were “inconclusive.”
I know both of my children. I will never be accused of saying “Not my child.” because I know kids are miniature people and they need to test the waters. But if they put their mind to it OR get a bribe (don’t judge me, sometimes it is what it is) the task at hand is completed. I have watched The Boy patiently search for various YouTube walkthroughs so that he can perfect the latest video game. Over breakfast, he asks the meanings of various words and albeit sloppily, records them in his catch all book because he likes the way the words sound or flow in a sentence. When he knows his behavior is the direct result of a gift, trip or goodie, he is almost Stepford like in his behavior, conscious of what he’s doing and saying.
The Boy also knows that I’m a pushover and exploits it to his advantage.
During the “inconclusive” result chat, I found out the uses of medication for people who are diagnosed with ADHD. Some use it just for school or church. Others use it to study. I find that a good pinch to the Boy’s triceps works just as well to get him to behave when we are at church. As for school, meh. I have my own issues with organized classroom education. I found that I’m a kinetic learner who retains by repetition and self study. A third grader doesn’t know how to not get the seat wet, much less know what learning style works best for him.
Then there’s the culture of society. I can use my smart phone to surf the Internet, play a game or check my email at a red light (not that I do this!). We have twitter which gives you a 140 characters to make a point. The morning news shows are crammed with a ticker like crawl at the bottom of the screen, the local weather and time, all while the anchor person is rapidly dispensing the headlines. We’re told to be twice as fast and do the jobs of three people in time allotted for one. TV viewing used to be sit down, shut up, but now you can pause live TV and rewind it to catch what you missed. Even as I type this, I’m fertilizing crops on Farmville, fighting another mob in Mafia Wars, listening to music and trying to placate the cat.
Rather than shove another pill into a child, my child, why don’t the teachers and doctors of the world take a look at what competes for a kid’s attention?
Rather they try to drug a kid, my kid, to make their jobs easier.
Not on my watch.