Sunday, March 9, 2008

Played Like A Cheap Fiddle


That would be me.

The one being played like a cheap fiddle.

Who knew Harper could play?

Ok, this whole walk through the world of ADHD medication is tedious and precarious, and obviously, I'm not fairing as well as others.

George keeps reminding me that we need to, excuse me, "stay the course", over the next two weeks.

Friends who have children on medication remind me that the first go is not always the clincher.

Harper, has even begun to take it in stride and within 10 minutes of taking it this morning had changed from "spring forward cranky girl" to "little Miss Helpful Sunshine".

I, on the other hand, have been told to chart. Keep track. Take daily notes. Watch for side effects. Record emotions and actions. Document. Keep a daily journal. You get the picture. All my mothering senses are on hyper-overload.

And thus, we arrive at today.

Harper arrived at church in a pretty good mood. I had already been there since 7:30 am (or 6:30 am if you take into account that we sprang forward today. Yes, I'm whining). I was pleased to see that she seemed great. She still didn't want to attend Sunday School and preferred hanging with George's class upstairs. I sang and then went to retrieve her, only to find her exiting George's class in a huff. Furrowed brow, sullen, all sighs. When I asked her what was up, she goes, "I'm bored."

I can't stand that answer.

We went down to the church library where she had a miraculous change of attitude and spent the remainder of the Sunday School hour writing a letter to my mom and reading to Fred Bryant, a great friend and incredible musician in our band. She was happy and enthusiastic.

After this, we went to the second service where, once again, Miss Sullen Face made an appearance. She sat stone faced through the music, although, it must be noted that she did indeed SIT, wouldn't go to second hour Sunday school (Children and Worship) unless George brought her up, wouldn't go without her backpack, and later, she shared that for the story and for prayer time, she sat by herself at the classroom door.

Like a good historian, I wrote all these behaviors down, and then teared up in church. My concern and heaviness for Harper is so very immense. She just seemed so unhappy today.

After church, I had an entirely new outlook due to George who shared that she went willingly into Children and Worship after he told her she'd get three stars in her star jar. This, got me thinking as I frantically attempted to pull off the wool covering my eyes.

The three of us had an INCREDIBLE talk after church. INCREDIBLE. I confronted her outright and asked whether her crabbiness was due to her not feeling well (her medication can bug her belly), or because she was just choosing to be crabby. She fessed up to conscious crabbiness. And while my words were direct, there was a thread of humor running through our entire conversation. This is obviously a paraphrased version of what we like to call "interview time."

"I was bored in Daddy's class because nobody needed help with water or coffee."

"Well, Harper, you made the choice not to attend your class, and thus, you have to sit in Daddy's class while I'm singing. You had your journal - you could have done some writing. This is your choice. But what you can't do is be distracting with your huffing and your puffing because you are bored, or leave the classroom. You chose to be there. If you are going to continue to be in his classroom you must not be distracting. Period."

I told her she should just go to the first hour of Sunday School if she can't handle being in Daddy's class. These are her two choices.

She explained clearly and beautifully that she doesn't enjoy her Sunday School class, even sharing that during Children and Worship (the class she attends second hour) the story "comes alive" and she can see it in her head, while in the first hour, they just read out of a book, and say "you have to do this craft and you have to do that craft" while in C & W they get independent work time. C & W also has more music, which she likes, although she doesn't like to sing or perform in front of everyone. Her animation while explaining this was incredible. What a public speaker.

"So, Harper, would you agree with me that your irritated attitude today had nothing to do with your being sad, but had everything to do with whether you get your own way?"

"Y. E. S."

"Because you seemed happy in the library, and happy writing to Mema. And then, when something happens that you don't like, you get all irritated. Today you were happy, then sad, then happy, then sad. I thought something was really wrong and was worried about you until Daddy gave you up. Even though you were sulking he said you went to Children and Worship with no problem once he gave you stars."

"Um. Yeah. I like that class."


"I know. Hug!"

Obviously, this is just a bit of what we talked about. The most interesting piece came when she couldn't explain why she sat by the door, away from the class, for the story and for prayer time.

"It's a complicated question" was her answer.

Ok, time to sum up. Harper is 7. If she doesn't want to do something she can manipulate like the best of them. Her current form of manipulation is to use the "bored" excuse and feign irritation. The medication IS working and aside from a little stomach discomfort and morning irritability, it seems to be helping her to stay focused. Fidgeting is down. Comprehension, at least around the house, is up. Homework was a breeze yesterday. And this was Saturday homework. Which technically she probably didn't need to do, but I asked her to do it anyway. A breeze. Our time after church today was amazing. No popping on and off of chairs. A well communicated conversation.

So, I'm going to have to trust in the Lord's wisdom to show me when my child is just being 7 and needs to be called out like I did today, or when she's having a meltdown due to anxiety (the suspected culprit which drives her to sit by the door during the Sunday School class she DOES like) or ADHD (like the after school "coming down off of the medication"' meltdown on Thursday).

I'm taking a nap now.

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