You are woken abruptly to a wide awake child whispering, "Can I play on your phone? Oh wait, never mind." As they scamper off stomping down the hallway they begin singing at the top of their lungs. It is 6:30 a.m. The sun is up, as is your child. Bed and pillow feel as though they are pulling you back into their depths. Bleary eyed and exhausted out of bed you must rise.
"Quiet child you will wake the rest.", said mid yawn. Hurriedly you gather a spoon, a yogurt and the orange bottle of pills. "Time for meds child. Open up." you say exhaustedly. The child scampers over, dancing and waggling their tongue. Okay, meds are in. Now to wait for them to hit.
The child jumps off the couch, riling the dog and bouncing all through the house. All the while yelling and singing as loud as is possible. Suddenly they hit. The child is almost instantly calm and states, "Must hurry don't want to be late today." They calmly walk to their bedroom and begin the task of preparing for the day.
The second child awakes, but you are prepared. Lunches are made, backpacks are filled and their breakfast is awaiting on the table. You get the child their outfit for the day and once they are finished breakfast, it is into the bathroom for a quick change. Let's Go! The second alarm goes off. Time to move it! Out the door they fly, backpacks on and ready to move. And they are off.
You sigh with relief and enjoy the quiet; calm for a moment. Onward with your day you go.
Alarm goes off, school will be out soon. Off you go, don't want to be late or you will miss the perfect parking spot. You arrive with plenty of time, say your hello's and how are you today's. The bell goes off. Students begin pouring out of their classrooms. Oomph, child two body slams/hugs into you and say's, "Hi MOM! Here hold this!", as they shove their backpack into your hands. As they run for outside.
Off you go. You meet child one outside, "Hurry Mom, we don't want to be late getting home." Child one climbs into the vehicle with ease and seats themselves. Child two is running up & down the lawn, playing with other children. "Come on child we have to get going." Child laughing continues on their way. You wait patiently. Child two screams from the vehicle, "We need to leave NOW!" You walk over to Child two and calmly ask them to come with you. "No I am still playing", child two runs in the opposite direction.
This game of cat and mouse continues for what seems like hours. When finally you catch the child and holding their hand inform them, "It is really time to leave, we are late." Child two resists. You really are running late and must go. You pick child two up and haul them over to the vehicle. Out it comes, "I hate you, your not my Mom, I just want to stay, I am choking, you're killing me..." Words you have heard time and time again from a child who does not mean them.
You get child two into the vehicle and buckled up. Child two begins berating and hitting child one. Child one defends themselves. A quarrel ensues. You pull into the driveway and scarcely get the door open. Both children begin to whine, "They were hitting me! I didn't start it." Deep breath.
You unlock the door and they push past you. "I am hungry, I am starving, make me a snack!", they declare. "First put away your backpacks and shoes. I will get you a snack.", exhausted from the ordeal after school.
As they rush into the kitchen they chatter, "Where is it!? Where is my snack?!" Calmly you continue to prepare the snack, while they argue over their favourite game. They eat and are off to see who is home to play.
Five minutes later in they run. "No one is home! I am bored! What can I do?" You list off the usual list. "I don't want to do that! I want to play with a friend NOW!" You list off the friends who live close by, "No one is home today sweetheart." Grumpily child two disappears to their bedroom. Child one sits down to think.
Child one asks child two to play a game. "No I don't want to play with you!", yells child two and slams the bedroom door shut. Child one attacks the door, "But I really want to play!" Child one is getting angry. "Please just find something else to do and let your sibling have some space.", you calmly ask child one. Child one, "Fine!" And goes into their bedroom and slams the door. Breath. Find your Zen. Find your calm.
Child two knocks on child one's bedroom door, "I want to play now." Child two, "Okay." And into the bedroom they go. Half an hour passes by. You hear a quarrel brewing from the bedroom. "I want to do it this way!" child two screams. "No that is not the way it is done." child one declares. Suddenly you hear the all too familiar sound of skin meeting skin. Out runs child two, "They hit me for no reason." Child one, "YOU started it, you didn't listen, you did this, not me." Child two attacks. You pull them apart into their own spaces, "Calm down, let's talk this out." Crisis averted. For now.
Five o'clock. Breath. Meds will be wearing off soon. Like clock work, the inevitable crash will happen complete with swearing, potty talk and nastiness oozing from child one. Today child one occupied themselves with Lego's before the crash hit and continued playing when the meds wore off. Breath. The crash will be over soon.
You put dinner on the table. In rushes child two, "I am sitting here!" You finish getting everything on the table. Child one saunters in, "HEY, that is MY spot." As they lunge toward child two and attempt to punch them. You step in the way to block the attack. "Calm down and go take a break please." "NO, I don't need one! I just need my spot back!", shouts child one. You finally help child one calm down and everyone sits down to eat.
After dinner everyone scatters. Children escape to the outdoors. Bedtime rolls around. You call for child one and child two to come inside. "Let's hide", whispers child two. And off they go. Breath. You go back inside and do what you have been taught to do. Ignore. Don't give them an audience, yet keep a watchful eye. They will come inside eventually.
Two hours later. Child two rushes in, "I am cold!", they declare. Child one sneaks inside. "I am hungry!" they shout. You explain that dinner already happened and if they would like a bedtime snack they need to get their pajama's on and wait for the snack.
You prepare a snack. "MOM, child one is throwing pants at my head!" shouts child two. Breath. "Child one please get dressed IN your bedroom.", you call down the hall. Finally after an hour of "Bedtime stories, Ooops I forgot to pee/brush my teeth, just have to say goodnight to the dog, must put away something I forgot about...", they are in bed.
Breath. You are exhausted and reviewing the day determine that it could have been much worse. There were minimal meltdowns, few tears, everyone is fed, you didn't need to call the children's support worker, no serious all out brawls occurred between your children... Despite being drained emotionally and physically from the day, it was an okay day.
You mull over things in your head. You never in your wildest dreams ever planned to have a family like this. It never once crossed your mind that you would one day need to make the controversial choice to medicate your child. Even during the seemingly endless months of trying everything "natural"; sticking to the strictest of routines complete with charts & pictures; speech therapy, reading groups, phonetic language help and more. But in the end you made the choice to get your child back and give them the help they so desperately need to not simply survive, but to thrive.
You never knew just how much you would need to learn about how to best raise your extra special children and the complicated meanings behind FOD, ASD, CAPD, SPD, ADHD, ODD, OCD, OT, PT and so many more acronyms. Or how many hours would be spent searching for support, networking to find the best avenue for which to find it.
You never imagined sinking to the bottom every day, only to force yourself to rise to the top again the very next morning.
You didn't ask for this. And yet here you are. This is your life. Your reality. No one else may take your place. This is your fight.
You face challenges every single day that other's may shrink at the thought of surviving. And yet you persevere. You survive.