I haven’t written very much about my Little Miss recently. Not because I haven’t wanted to, but because I wasn’t sure whether or not to put this out there. But if it helps you, or your comments help me, it will be worth it. For those of you know us well or have spent some time in our company, you know LM to be a “spirited” little girl. Thank you for using the word “spirited” by the way. I’ve heard worse. I have my eyes open and I live this every day. Towards the end of last year, the daycare called BD and I in for a meeting to discuss her behavior. Here’s this tiny, beautiful, cute, affectionate 11kg toddler, completely terrorizing her teachers and other kids. My dog Frank weighs more than that. It became so much of a problem that on her bad days, I was signing 6 or 7 incident reports every time I collected her. I asked those closest to me for advice and was met with “she’s three, this is normal” or “she’ll grow out of it.” I don’t have any experience with children at all so maybe they’re right? I kept up with the teacher’s recommendations. I followed people up, harassed my GP and continued my research into aggressive behavior in toddlers. She went to speech therapy for 10 weeks. Apparently, her inability to communicate was causing her to lash out. The incident reports got less and less. Her speech improved. I felt great that we had made progress and as her speech therapy finished up, I made mention to the daycare center how proud I was that she had made so much improvement.
“No, she hasn’t. We just decided to only write incident reports for when the other children require ice packs or there’s blood.” My heart sank. In the past three months, not one person has said anything to me. “There are children in this room who are frightened of her. We were going to talk to you about it this coming week..” she continued. “She is going to struggle at school with these types of behaviors, and to be frank, we are having difficulties dealing with her…” As I stood in the room, her teacher talking to me and children’s laughter ringing in my ears, tears begun to well in my eyes. I looked down to her as she clung onto my skirt. Her huge blue eyes searching my face for a reason… “Don’t be sad Mummy, I love you.” Her go to whenever I’m sad. And she nails the timing, every damn time. I dropped to one knee and scooped her up. We’ve had child psychologists and speech pathologists. I’ve been to seminars, done an online course and joined about 25 parenting forums. I’m trying everything and I’m still failing her. My only job in this world is to give her the best possible start in life in return for her unconditional love and I am not fulfilling my end of the bargain. I push my face in to her jumper and cry. She doesn’t understand why, but she strokes the side of my face and gives me a hug.
The following week we finally had a Pediatrician’s appointment that I’d been waiting on for almost four months. 9:30am… the appointment is at 9:30am… I was looking forward to it. Looking forward to finding answers. The appointment was actually at 9am. LM refused to get in the pram because I wouldn’t let her listen to the Nutbush for the 80th time that morning so I arrived, late and frazzled. I flurried into the room and didn’t hear anything of what the Doctor said in the first couple of minutes as LM frantically tried to get out of the pram and then once escaped, touched everything she could get her hands on and asked the Doctor about 90 questions including “Can I have that balloon?” as she tipped the container over. She then broke a desk lamp, climbed onto the bed unaided by scaling the table leg and knocked over a whole cup of those mouth stick things. When I was able to distract her with ABC for Kids iView App, the Doctor asked “Is she like this all of the time, or did something happen this morning for her to be so excited?” And that was the moment I knew. As he explained that kids this age couldn’t be diagnosed with ADHD because they’re too young and that she might mature out of it in the coming years, I felt a sense of calmness wash over me. That’s all it is. A brain-based biological condition that effects around 6% of children. Of that 6%, 1 girl to every 3 boys. Beyond what would be considered “normal” for a three year old, her inability to control her impulses, her temper and her desire to be constantly moving is coming from this slightly different place. A place she was born with. That she genetically inherited. Not psychologically given to her by me, or her Dad. Or because of our circumstances, or who she spends her time with, or how much love she receives. I’m not failing her. I just didn’t know. Didn’t understand.
Armed with this new knowledge, it lit a fire in me. The Doctor gave me the names of several books, already purchased and read. He said some kids react to certain things in their diet, so we went shopping for a sugar free, red free, preservative free, additive free diet that she would still enjoy. Fish oil to help with her brain development and to help keep her calm, zinc to improve her impulsiveness and iron to reduce her irritability. I enrolled myself in the PPP parenting program in July so I can remember to take a breath and calm the fuck down, arranged an Occupational Therapist to help me implement strategies at her daycare and are going back to visit the nice child psychologist who made me feel like less of a failure the last time her behavior hit fever pitch. A conscience effort must be paid by me to be closer to her in her times of frustration. As I got to school this morning and unbuckled her, she said “carry me?” Normally she’s out of the car, dragging me to the door and then she’s gone up the corridor. She rested her head on my shoulder as we walked in. I took an extra 10 seconds to sign her in as I basked her in affections. I opened the main door and she wriggled to get down and then she was off. As I watched her run I thought “we are gonna get there, I’m sure of it.” Short of death, there’s nothing that will stop me from fighting for her. And fight I will. One day at a time.