"Don't eat your boogers!"
"No, you can't have more candy!"
Emme, along with most kids with ADHD, does not have a pause button. Her pyschiatrist explained it perfectly when she said Emme is like a car whose motor never turns off. Words like stop, don't, and no are impossible for her. How can you halt something that never stops moving? Easy. You can't.
Instead she said to tell her what you want her to do.
"Emme, keep you arms to your side when you talk to Corbin."
"Boogers belong in tissues, not our bellies. Do you need a Kleenex?"
"When you go potty in the toilet you can have another piece of candy."
I'll be honest. Cutting out these words has not kept Emme from throwing huge temper tantrums nor has it stopped her from mauling Corbin, but once in a blue moon she will obey for a couple seconds and then I congratulate her on listening so good to mommy. She usually responds with "yeah, I'm not making Corbin cry mom!" "I'm a good girl!" Yes you are.
Her pyschiatrist warned me that I would see little results from my new vocabulary. She said to just keep doing it and eventually it will stick. A child without ADHD has to hear something three times before they understand and it is engrained in their minds. A child with ADHD has to hear something 1000 times! Yes, I meant to put 3 zeros there. It sounds completely absurd, but so true at the same time. I can count on one hand where Emme has obeyed the first or even the third time I've asked her to quit doing something. It usually takes physical reinforcement. I don't mean physical as in spanking, but actually removing her from the situation or removing whatever object she is not using appropriately. Corbin also being one of those situations.
Emme knows all the rules and can recite them by memory. Obeying them is a completely different story.
"Ems, if you go and talk to Corbin what are the rules?"
"Be soft and keep my hands to myself."
Not two seconds later Corbin is usually in a choke hold and crying. Poor baby. I'll admit that it is an internal struggle not to freak out at times like this. For heavens sake child, you just told me the rules! She is just not capable. Something that is so frustrating to me, but that I am kindly reminded of by her therapist and psychiatrist every time we go. Our hopes are that she will eventually be able to have self control. She IS only three and self control can be a tough task to accomplish at that age anyway.
While visiting with her psychiatrist I told her that one reason I was having such a hard time was because I am so different than Emme. I'm seriously lazy. I could watch a whole marathon of tv shows in a row and Emme is only capable of getting through a few minutes before she's off doing something else. By the way I totally realize how lame of me this was to say.
Dr. H looked at me straight in the eye and said, "Most of the time our children are different than us. They can change us into a whole new person than we were before and that's not always a bad thing."
That has stayed with me ever since. Am I a better person now that I'm a mother? I don't always feel like it. Exhausted? Yes. Stressed out? Yes. Constantly worried about the future? Oh yes. But am I better?
The more I thought about it the more I realized I have many qualities I didn't before motherhood.
I care less about what people think about me.
I'm less timid.
I know what unconditional love feels like.
I have more empathy towards others.
I've learned how to forgive multiple times a day.
I have moments where I show insurmountable amounts of patience. Although I'm still working on that one.
Could it be possible that I'm starting to become who Heavenly Father wants me to be?
Are the days when I'm completely broken and alone teaching me to rely on The Lord?
"Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (see Prov. 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain." Richard G. Scott Nov 1995 Trust in The Lord
In the years and years of waiting to become a mother I admit I mostly thought of myself. "Why don't I deserve children?" "I can't wait to hold a baby that calls me mom." "I will be the most patient loving parent ever." "When is it MY turn to experience the joy motherhood brings." I, I, I, Me, Me, Me!!!
Of course I thought about my future baby, but to be honest I really only day dreamed about the fun times. I knew there would be moments that weren't very pleasant, but I wasn't very concerned and figured I would know what to do when the time came.
Naive little girl.
Recently, I was excepted in the women's choir for Women's Conference in my church. It's a big deal for us LDS ladies. Women all over the world will be watching to get inspiration from our general authorities. Over 12,000 applied and wouldn't you know that little old me made the cut. The first day of practice the choir committee told us that we were there because The Lord knew we needed to be and because we had something to learn from the experience. They told us to pray and figure out why we had been called.
At the first practice the director addressed those who were given parts in the choir they wouldn't normally choose to sing. Meaning, if you usually sing alto, but you were given soprano by mistake. Instead of having pure chaos with everyone trying to change parts she asked us to put faith in ourselves and do what is being asked of us. She said in life there are many times we don't feel like doing a certain task, but we do it anyway because that's what is necessary and needed at the time. She used the example of changing a dirty diaper. It's not what we look forward to in life, but we do it because it's what's needed.
It may seem silly, but this simple lecture hit me hard.
No mother WANTS to clean up a child who just had a blowout. Or in my case smeared poo all over their room.
No mother WANTS to separate fighting children.
No mother WANTS to go without sleep for months at a time or years for that matter.
No mother WANTS to clean up throw up.
Guess what though? We have to. It's what is needed of us. It's what is asked of us. It's what our calling is. And we do it because we love them.
Motherhood really isn't about me. I don't get to be selfish. I have work to do. I was sent two children from our Heavenly Father and I have a big responsibility. And yes. It. Will. Eat. Me. Alive. At times. There will be days I can't sleep due to the unknown. I will have melt downs. I will hide in the pantry to sneak candy. I will forget to eat or eat way too much. I will look forward to time away. I will feel guilt and shame that I am totally screwing them up. I will be called names and told I'm hated. Snippets of life I have already experienced in the three years I've been a mother.
They are so loved by Gregg and I, but I'll be the first to admit parenting is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. Has anyone ever said it was easier though? Probably not.
I was called. I accepted. I am essential.
One day my services will not be required. This part of my life will feel like a flash of light yet it is such an important era.
I learned a big lesson that night at choir practice which was, suck it up Lacey. Do what is needed not what is wanted.
You have work to do.