Monday, November 8, 2010

My Girl

My girl Sydney.  Love her!  From the time she was able to talk and walk, we knew she was little Miss Bubbly, Miss Personality, Miss Chatterbox, Miss Larger-than-Life, the list could go on an on.  Everyone knows crazy Sydney, she shines! 

Through the years we have butted heads.  She is so strong-willed.  So not shy - the way I was growing up.  She has always wanted to do her own thing.  Last year, Sydney started Kindergarten and I was worried for her because of her talking.   Luckily Blake's second grade teacher and my friend was now her teacher.  She began e-mailing me that she was really concerned about Sydney.  Here is a post from last year.  I received contstant e-mails about her behaviors and we tried everything for positive reinforcement to see if it helped and nothing did.

Now, we are almost three months into First grade.  It has started out to be a difficult year for us but today, I am one proud momma!  I got the most wonderful news!!

October 16, 2010 was the day that Sydney's doctor told us she had Attention Defecit Disorder (ADD).  It was not news to us but just official according to surveys that Tim, her teacher and I had taken on Sydney's behaviors.  She scored a 7/9 for hyper-activity and 9/9 for lack of focus.  It was not a slight case of ADD, but severe with scores like that.  Her doctor said it is not common in six-year old girls.

I knew we were in trouble after getting a call home the second week of school.  I was worried about her talking and that wasn't even the issue.  I was so saddened to hear her teacher describe that Sydney was in a whole different zone when she was teaching.  Staring into space as she put it.  I wanted to cry.  I felt so bad for my baby girl. 

When she mentioned that her grades were beginning to suffer, I knew it was something we couldn't ignore.   I waited two more weeks hoping there would be a change.  I was in denial even after many discussions and disagreements with Tim.  

Benignus was on my phone calling me again...cringe...what report was I going to get this time?

"Hi Mrs. Fortunato" on the other end from her very caring and sweet teacher, Mrs. Burson.  My heart raced as I thought, "What is she going to tell me this time?"  I hoped that she would say that Sydney was magically doing much better in class.  No.  Not the case.

She had a 27 on a math paper and a 55 on another paper
She has to do redos in order to get her grades higher
She is reading below grade level
She did not listen to a bit of instruction on two-part math problems
She does not focus
She is more worried about her classmates and what they are doing
She is so very distracted by her pencils and erasers

After that call, I could not waste any more time.  We needed to do something to help our sweet, energetic, strong-willed girl.  This decision took over a year to make and lots and lots of cries in my closet.  I called the doctor's office immediately and scheduled a consultation.  My hand was shaking the whole time.  I hung up the phone once the appointment was made and I broke down.  I cried almost the entire afternoon.  It ruined my day.  This stuff happens to other people, not us.

What were we about to do?  Would Sydney's spirit be broken?  Would she be a completely different child?  Would there be long-term side effects?  These were all the questions running through my mind. 

Not to mention - guilt - what could we have done different?  Shame - for those that will judge us for our decision to medicate our child.  I realize so many people think parents throw their kids on it for an easy solution.   But it wasn't easy.  It was the hardest decision I have had to make as a parent.  Fear - that one day we will find out that her medication will cause some other ailment that could have been avoided if she did not take it at all.

This is our third week now.  What a difference her medicine has made.  Sydney hops in the car after school and is so excited to tell me that she gets tickets instead of time outs.  Time outs have ended.  If she has a good day, tickets can be saved up to buy things from the treasure box.

Reassurance came for me today.  I AM doing the right thing and I can finally feel good about our decision although it still will take some time.  We are helping Sydney be the best she can be in class and in her sports.

This morning, I was at my Moms group at church and one of the topics we discussed was measuring success for our children.   Not that it had to be anything grand, but just something short-term.   I chose Sydney and shared with my group the struggles we have had with her.  My measure was for her to get a good Tuesday folder with positive marks.

Within 10 minutes of sharing my story with the group, my phone rang.  It was Mrs. Burson.  "Mrs. Fortunato", in a very cheery voice!  She was calling to tell me what a wonderful job Sydney was doing in class.  Her reading has improved, she is getting math and completing her work.  She's focusing and paying attention.  Her eyes and attention are not on her classmates.  Her grades have improved.

I lost it and broke down crying to her teacher.  I told her how much that call meant to me.  It was the call I have been waiting for.  We DID make the right decision. 

God's timing could not have been more perfect.  It was His way of telling me it's ok!  :-)

Finally, some even better news...Sydney's tumbling coach promoted her tonight to the advanced class since she is doing so well.  Running round-off back-hand springs here we come!!

I'm so proud of my girl!

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