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Jan 08 2013

2e Tuesday: In the Eye of the Storm

Black Asphalt BackgroundWhen I started this blog seven years ago today I had a toddler, a preschooler, and the misguided belief that things would get easier when they were older. Oh silly silly Jen! The boys may be able to fasten their own seat belts and oversee their own toilet use, but no, things haven’t gotten much easier. Recognizing this on the cusp of the teen years is a little disturbing.

Oh God. It just hit me that A will be a teenager in fifteen months. I’m a little lightheaded. I’m not ready for this.

I digress, per usual. When I started up this little writing experiment, I did it for fun. It was something I did in the afternoons when the boys napped were hog-tied in their rooms having afternoon quiet time. It was a way to clear my head and I loved it. It has grown into so much more and I love it even more than I did seven years ago.

Seven years ago I knew nothing about giftedness and now I live in the eye of the storm. It is a uncertain place to live and I don’t like it. I can deal with change, uncertainty is my nemesis. Here in the eye, you can see above and below you and it’s crystal clear. You can almost convince yourself that it’s a beautiful sunny day, though a bit windy. Then somewhere a butterfly farts, and you inexorably begin drifting toward the eye wall. The eye wall, where the winds are the most fierce and dangerous. And suddenly the day isn’t so sunny and you’re flailing, trying like hell to return to the relative calm of the eye. It’s nearly impossible, as there’s nothing to grab or push off of to get moving, the winds are so unpredictable you don’t know which way is up, and you can’t see or hear or think because of the chaos. You start to doubt that the eye ever existed and you feel so very, very alone.

That’s what it’s like to parent a twice-exceptional child.

Right now I’m in the eye, but I’m starting to catch the aroma of nectar poofs. December was a rough month here. Even though I should have known better, we took A off his ADHD meds over the holidays, in hopes he’d gain some weight and lose some tics. Neither happened. It was a long month, full of obsessions with Gangnam Style (and every variation thereof–our favorite was when A was playing tug with Rosie and it became “doggie style” ::facepalm::), Minecraft, and that gawdawful Troll Song. He’s back on meds, two of those three have disappeared (and I’m about to go all Creeper on the damned Minecraft), and I’m trying like hell to return to the relative calm of the eye. Yesterday I was desperately searching for any kind of school for 2e kids; I think I might give a kidney for the Bridges Academy to open an Illinois branch. I saw they’re opening a boarding school for 2e kids next year, but unless the aforementioned butterfly starts popping out gold coins with those farts, it’s not going to happen.

Today is a little better. We’re slowly starting to get back into something resembling a routine, and I’m talking myself down off the ledge. I’m just tired of 2e crap. It never goes away and it always flares up with no warning. I’m tired of the Möbius strip of this-causing-that-resulting-in-this-which-makes-that-happen lather rinse repeat, all wrapped up in a noose of bewilderment. It’s an M.C. Escher treadmill, I swear. It’s hardest because I left my professional support network back in Colorado, and don’t have one here in Illinois yet. All the therapists and specialists and tutors and schools we leaned on are all a thousand miles away. I’d give my other kidney for a local developmental pediatrician who gets giftedness and 2e and how they can overlap with ADHD/OCD/ABCXYZ. I’m now theoretically kidney-less, but with a great school and doctor for the Most Complex Child on the Planet™.

It’s been a crazy seven years. May the next seven be the blessed calm after the storm has passed.

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On a personal note, nominations for the 2013 Bloggies are open. Pamela from Red, White, and Grew has nominated Laughing at Chaos for best humorous and best parenting blog. If you’re so inclined, I’d be thrilled if you’d consider adding to those nominations. I am not good at asking for things, but am obviously working on that. Thanks.

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  1. Katie

    Now my 2 year old sings the troll song. It gets stuck in my head. I’m so glad someone else has any idea what I’m talking about.

    1. Jen

      Tom and I first heard/saw it on Family Guy. Had no idea what it was. Now I want that song to die a painful and horrible death.

  2. Misty Parker

    Whoa! I feel like I could have written that (other than my boys are younger! From that stupid Gangnam crap (my 7 yr old sings “hey, sexy piggy!” wth?), to the tics and needed weight gain to the spending hours looking at the Bridges Academy website. We took a 4 day break from meds over Thanksgiving and it was hell. (for me) I thought about you with your break at Christmas time and thought it’s too bad your son can’t have milk because I was loading mine up with egg nog hoping to pack in some extra calories! (now that my baby is drinking whole milk don’t think i’m not slipping that stuff to my 7 yr old too)
    Hope you can get back closer to the center of the eye soon! Thanks again for sharing so openly with your readers! 🙂

    1. Jen

      There is Silk eggnog, but it’s not quite the same. I try to fatten him up, but it doesn’t always work. :p

  3. Sharon

    Since I’m in the midst of this giftedness/overexciteabilities hurricane with a 5.5 yo and 2.5 yo, just thought to throw a big THANK YOU for making me laugh about my situation and a big YOU’VE GOT TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME that it doesn’t get any easier. Well, truth is better than sugar-coated gluten/soy/dairy/corn free lies. But it is still hard to choke down.

    1. Jen

      Um, sorry. 🙁 It gets easier in some ways, and not easier in others. I honestly thought by now his executive function issues would be better, or that I wouldn’t be losing sleep over how he’s growing. But he’s getting SOOOOO much better about self-regulation and removing himself from a situation if he starts to feel overwhelmed. I guess I’m sick of it always.being.hard.

  4. Pamela

    FWIW, I think you do extraordinary things with a complex, ever-changing situation. =D

    But for me, the idea of nap schedules and diaper changes was a real freakin’ shock. I’m not cut out for that again. It nearly drove me over the edge, and the sight of Huggies still gives me the shakes. I never got “baby fever” and honestly I’m not inclined to want to hold newborns in general to this day. Now, give me a rowdy, bright two year old about to wear down his mom and its game on. (I’ve blocked out that adolescence is coming, though I have jokingly threatened sabbatical at 13.)

    Also, I think that parents should be able to opt out of the holiday season. The chaos/expectations seem to really set problems off for a lot of gifted/2E families. Not going to happen, but I wish we could.

    1. Jen

      I couldn’t handle a baby at this point (GODFORBID). So I snuggle my nephew and hope my brother/wife produce a niece at some point. Then I give them back. Mwahahahahaha!!!!
      The teens years may kill me if things continue as they are now. I’ve had friends SWEAR to me that their 2e sons actually chilled with puberty, so I’m holding on to that with both hands.

  5. Care

    You are nothing short of a blessing, Jen. You dealing with all the things you do and coming out of it with jokes a-crackin’ is inspirational. My 4.5yo Monkey (yeah, it’s me!) is heading to the psych to get the ball rolling on what is going on. It’s been reading here that’s been the most sanity-saving for me – knowing I’m not the only one whose kid is driving her bonkers, and who is ridiculously intense… and also vacillating between hyperfocus and “hi, I’m two”… Gah. Thank you for being out there to remind me that while it doesn’t exactly get better, but different, it is possible to make it through with grace, humor and some of your sanity intact. <3

    (As an aside, Monkey is why I'm *terrified* to have a Baby#2 – I want one in the worst way, but what if I get another just like Monkey?!? ACK!)

    1. Jen

      Glad you’re starting the ball rolling. You won’t regret it. I sat and read my son’s GDC evaluation the other day to convince myself (again) that I’m not imagining all this. Knowing what’s going on helps so much.
      And we rolled the dice on #2 and won. I was scared to death, beyond words. And then when J slept 5 hours solid a few days home from the hospital, I knew it was going to be ok. 🙂

  6. Kylie

    Just something that might help – have you heard of Chemical Intolerances to natural food. They are salicylates, amines, glutamates (to name a few). They are found in many fruit and vegetables. In sensitive people they can affect the nerve ending – thus affecting behaviour (plus many other side affects). My daughter presents with asperger like symptoms if she has a feed of salicylates. Just something that might help.

    1. Jen

      No, hadn’t heard of that, but it doesn’t surprise me. Food sensitivities are so varied and have such reactions that he could be reacting to anything. He’s totally dairy free, and was gluten free until recently. He probably should be gluten free (I have to be), but we’re also trying to get him to gain weight.

  7. dawn

    Hey Jen,

    I just learned about your book and blog from Linda Silverman. My son, age 12, was just diagnosed as 2e and i could SO relate to your posts, right down to the minecraft and troll song….ugh. It is hard, isn’t it? It helps me greatly to know that it’s not all in my head, bad parenting, being a parent wimp or whatever. My son (and daughter) are SO amazing! And drive me crazy so often! THanks for reminding me to approach this with humor, and to begin to accept that normal will never be for my family, but that’s more than okay. We homeschool too–I was a former elementary school teacher and just could never see him fitting in at a school.
    And for the record, I also have heard that it gets easier with these guys as they hit the teen years. We’re banking on it, because to believe otherwise would just be depressing. Hugs,
    Dawn

    1. Jen

      “I just learned about your book and blog from Linda Silverman.” I may frame that sentence. 😉 Humbling.

      Right now we’re (knockwoodmylipstoGod’sear) in a good place. That doesn’t mean that tomorrow won’t go pear-shaped. But I have to believe that it’s getting easier and will continue to do so (pleaseohpleaseohplease).

      And the troll song…sigh…it’s the earworm that keeps me awake at night. Ugh.

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