Mamahood Exposed: Seeking Answers


When our children are aching we ache with them, and when they struggle we struggle with them.  Here's one woman's struggle.

Hi everyone!  I am so happy that Joanna asked me to be a part of her motherhood series here on ModaMama!  I love her blog, and I look forward to connecting to other mommy bloggers!

First, a quick introduction.My name is Lena and I blog over at Mom2MemphisAndRuby.  I am a mom of two, married to a great guy & living in a small farming community in Quebec, Canada.  Ruby is our spunky 4 year old drama queen, in a nutshell.  She takes ballet & loves it!  She's a bit of a diva, but is also very sweet & quite artsy. And hilarious!  She comes out with the strangest things!  She loves sugar, the color pink and anything that sparkles...She is definitely a free-spirit and keeps us on our toes!  My son Memphis is 6 years old, very bright, charming, funny... and has very recently been diagnosed with ADHD… this is where my journey through motherhood took a turn I hadn't expected it to...

You see, Memphis is our first.  To us, he is {and always has been} perfect.  Sure, there were signs that he was a little "different" ever since he was a baby, but we chalked these up to being little "quirks" that were just part of his personality.

He was a very content baby & young child.  He rarely fussed or cried.  He could sit & stare at books for hours.  Very independent & well liked by other children.  He was always happy, gentle & well-mannered.


He has never been good at maintaining eye contact.  When he was younger, he was very "OCD-ish"... everything had it's place. And although he has sort of outgrown this, routines are still very important to him.  Everything needs to feel like it his idea or done his way.  He's not spoiled.  It's hard to explain, but it's like he can't move forward until his has thought everything through.  Everything!  And then, only then, can he continue.

These "quirks"  were always "there."  But he was thriving and functioning well.  We thought he was a very well adjusted little boy.

The winter he turned four is when things started to get a little "crazy" for us.  All of a sudden he was exhibiting aggressive behaviors with other children & staff at the daycare he has attended since he was barely 10 months old.

He was still acting mostly like his normal self at home, so to be honest, my husband and I thought there were factors at the daycare that were influencing his behavior.  We know that there was a little boy he didn't get along with, part of us felt like he had been bullied (yes, at four!) and decided to put his foot down.  It wasn't an excuse, we didn't condone his behavior, but it was a way to explain what was happening.  We worked with the daycare very closely, we maintained very similar routines and discipline tactics and thinks were going better at daycare and we thought the worst was behind us.

Then last May, he snapped.

I can't explain it any other way.  One day, something {I wish I could tell you what, but I still have no idea} upset him and he flew into a rage.  He was screaming horrible things, crying, throwing things, threatening to hurt us.  Nothing we could do or say would make him stop.  I broke down... he saw me crying and just cringed.  He started crying even more, apologizing, saying he didn't know why he was feeling that way.  It broke our hearts.  It scared us since we'd never seen him that way before.

At this point, we knew something was wrong.  From that day on, things weren't the same.  His moods could shift at any moment and go from 0 to 60 in a split second.  We tried identifying triggers, but it seemed impossible.  We noticed he became a lot more restless.  If he wasn't focusing on something, then he was bouncing off the walls.

My husband & I were at the end of our ropes.  The feeling of not being able to help your kid is something that breaks your heart day after day.  I wasn't sleeping, and my husband was heading towards a depression... I'm sure of it.  My friends & family were worried for us.  I was too worried about Memphis to think too much about how it was affecting me, and the rest of my family.  Happily, we have an amazing support system... they've got our backs.

Just before starting kindergarten this summer, we met with the school to explain what we were going through.  They were happy to have been given an advanced warning...and I'm so glad we had that meeting.

Since then, Memphis has had a lot of difficulties at school.  Academically, he's thriving.  He really is a bit of a smarty pants.  We've called him our little professor and our human database for years!  But socially, he's having a very hard time.  Again, if things don't go "his way" he has a hard time functioning.  Noise seems to be a trigger as well... he has a lot of problems during recess and lunch hour in the cafeteria.

The teachers & aides are amazing.  The Principal has gone above & beyond to help him, to help us, and I'll be forever grateful.  Even prior to his recent diagnosis (read about that here), an extra aide was hired to help him in class and a little room was built especially for him... a place to go & calm down before things get out of hand.

If you're like me, you've probably Googled these symptoms & behaviours.  Aspergers, on the autism spectrum, is what jumps out at us the most...but maybe that's not it.  We don't know yet.

We have started Memphis on medication for the ADHD.  We had exhausted every other measure.  Having him home over the holidays has been a blessing.  We are monitoring his prescription and giving him the lowest dose possible that helps him focus, & function well during the day.

The hope is once the ADHD is under control, a complete psych evaluation can be done. {since the hyperactivity has subsided since he's been on the meds, we're noticing more extreme version of those little "quirks" he's already had}  With all his "quirks" we are pretty sure there are underlying issues that need to be addressed.

I wish I could have fit our story into a simpler, shorter post... I thank you if you've made it this far.  It is a relief for me to be able to talk openly about our recent struggles with Memphis.  I have made friends with many women who have gone through similar situations with their children, and knowing that we're not the first family to go through this provides tremendous comfort.

Being a mother is something I always wanted to be.  I never thought it would be this difficult this early on.  But I wouldn't have it any other way... he is ours, and he is perfect.

We are happy, we are optimistic.  We are in a better place now since his diagnosis.  We look forward to a day when we have "all the answers" but until then we'll take it one day at a time!

Thanks again, Joanna for inviting me to share my story on ModaMama.

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6 thoughts:

  1. My heart goes out to you and your family! What an immense struggle!! You are one brave mama...wishing you and your family the best of luck!! xo!

  2. Oh Lena. I thought I knew I had no idea. My heart has made a new spot just for you and Memphis. I hope you get answers sooner than later.
    Hugs my friend,

  3. As a former kindergarten teacher who has had quite a few boys like Memphis in my class, I can understand your struggles. You have such a positive attitude about it and are doing some great things for your son. I can tell you from experience that A LOT of parents in this situation are in complete denial. They blame the school, the teacher, the weather, the color of the paint on the wall...anything. All this does in the end is hurt their child more. I applaud you for taking action. You are making his life so much me. I also love how you are taking it one thing at at time. Dealing with the ADHD first and then taking the next step is very smart.

    He is very lucky to have you as a mom! And, you are right, he is PERFECT! Never forget that :)

  4. I admire you for sharing your story and being so honest. I'm sure there are tons of parents out there that can benefit from you talking so candidly. You are such a super strong woman and Memphis is so lucky to have you guys who are willing to go the lengths to make sure he is taken care of! xoxo

  5. To echo posts above, thank you for being so honest. As a teacher we see so many extreme cases: parents who medicate (when probably not required) before trying any alternatives and at the other end, parents who refuse to medicate to the point where social services becomes involved as it is regarded as negligence. You just sound like parents really trying their best to do their best. A credit to sensible and loving parenting. Rx

  6. clearly i'm way behind (just now reading this, five days later!)... hugs to you, Lena. you really are one heck of a woman and mom. glad to know you :) xo


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