Thursday, June 06, 2013

The Challenge of Mornings

I can't wait for the school year to end.

There. I said it.

Since I am not a schoolteacher looking forward to a summer off, but rather a suddenly stay-at-home mom trying to figure out what comes next, this might be a bit of a controversial statement. I mean, I must be nuts to be looking forward to 9 or 10 weeks of trying to keep my child entertained, stimulated, and even once in a while out of my hair. But, in reality, all of that sounds so much better than the constant, daily, morning battles over getting ready and out of the house on time.

I know any kid can be difficult in the mornings. We're not all morning people (least of all me), and not everyone relishes getting woken up early to spend the day in a classroom or cubicle. But throw an ADHD/ODD child into this scenario and things can go south real quick.

Add in a mom suffering from depression and anxiety - it gets worse.

Toss with a little peri-menopause ... awesome.

And then throw in brutal peri-menopausal PMS. (It's way worse now than it ever was.) This is a recipe for disaster, and why I came home from school drop-off this morning and just bawled.

Granted, this week has been particularly difficult because of my hormones, and we won't have to deal with that again now until the new school year. (Thank God!) But every morning is such a struggle for us, and my ability to cope calmly with Little Boo's obstinacy and outbursts is unreliable.

We make for a bad mix.

It's a good thing we love each other so much and tell each other often.

A morning with Little Boo involves a lot of whining, a lot of staring into space, a lot of sitting on the bed naked and getting distracted by the dog or a toy or his navel. It includes an inability to decide on a breakfast item, followed quite regularly by a loud rejection of whatever breakfast choice is prepared for him. Even if it's something he loves.

This morning was filled with almost zero words. Lots of grunts, whines, and humphs.When I finally lifted him physically out of bed, he went to the washroom, sat down to pee, and stayed there for 5 minutes. When I realised he was missing in action I knocked on the door to ask if everything was ok. You could almost hear him startling out of his daydream. Reminder that breakfast is ready. I go downstairs, hear him come out the of the bathroom, but he doesn't appear at the table. Turns out he saw the dog and went to pet her, then forgot about his food.

By this time, I'm losing my mind. The clock is ticking and I see another morning of late arrival on the horizon.

We fought about eating, about getting dressed, about taking his medication. I had to dress him like a toddler to get him moving. Physically carry him to the bathroom to wash his face and get him to brush his teeth. Everything was "No!" Or rather, "mremrndsmn, poop."  (What is it with poop and first grade boys???)

It's really frustrating, but even on a "good" morning I can't leave him alone for a minute or all movement stops. Every step of his morning must be supervised to keep him focused and on track. He, like me, is not a morning person. Add in the issues surrounding his ADHD and ODD, and mornings are a nightmare. His coping skills are non-existent at that early hour. And mine are much the same. Especially now.

So, summer will be a blessing. We can start our mornings naturally, without alarm clocks, waking when our bodies are ready. We will plan our days so that we can avoid rushed morning preparations or too many schedules. He will have a couple of weeks of camp, so there will be some mornings when he has to get up and get ready on time. But my hope is that the camps will be more enticing than school, which will help him be motivated to focus. We've planned one of these to be the week right before school starts, to ease back into scheduled days.

Basically, I feel like the worst morning mom ever. I'm not writing this looking for reassurance otherwise. I'm writing almost as an apology to Little Boo, and out of some feeling that if I admit my shortcomings publicly, perhaps that acknowledgement will help me to work to improve. Patience is a virtue right?

What are mornings like at your house? If you have a wonderful, loving and lovable, challenging child like mine, does all this sound familiar? If mornings are a breeze at your place, I'm not sure I want to know. (kidding!) (sort of)

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