Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Shining Break from our Morning Madness

For a child diagnosed with ADHD, morning time is not exactly the best part of the day. It is when my son is at his energetic highest. It is almost as if his body is making up for its inability to release energy during sleep. When Weston awakens, his body becomes like a tempest of this repressed energy. He jumps, squirms, screams, smirks and pesters. He becomes like a lightening rod sucking in all forms of sensory input and blasting it out in an explosion of sight and sound.

After 14 years of adjusting to this boisterous morning routine, I have become very adept at minimizing the pain of it. Yes, I am a maximizer of time and efficiency. I have created a morning schedule that seeks to minimize sensory input, provide instant nourishment and feed/clothe a fast-moving boy all in about 20 minutes flat. The exact amount of time it takes for Weston's meds to become effective. At this point, Nicholas and I are strapped into the car and zooming off to the school in an effort to quickly deposit the feisty fire bolt at the bottom of the high school stairs. Mayhem managed.

Once in a great while however, the kind spirit that resides at Weston's core manages to subdue the impulsive beast called ADHD. Amidst the arms, legs, hooting and hollering, the true essence of Weston's soul will sometimes exert itself reminding me once again that my son is not his disability. In fact, at times he manages to shine brightly in spite of it.

Friday morning Weston arose from a sound sleep by bolting upwards from bed and bounding down the hallway steps, two at a time. He entered the kitchen amidst a cacophony of sound effects,

"Grrrrrrrr, woooooo, weeeeeee, waaaaaa!" the wild boy yells as he heads to the kitchen table.

Muffy immediately makes for her crate in a streak of brown and white fur, but not before the terrorizing teen shuts the metal door of the canine condo, squelching the hustling hound's only escape route.

"Weston please stop teasing the dog," I say for the one millionth time.

"Alright," Weston whines disappointingly and shoves his entire breakfast (a peanut butter sandwich) into his mouth.

"Mmmrrrrrmmmmwwwww," he mumbles at Nicholas and pokes him in the arm.

"Moooooooooom!" Nick shouts promptly sounding the "I'm having trouble tolerating my brother" alarm.

I assemble clothing, medication, headphones and deodorant and place it directly beside the teen tyrant, shortening our morning schedule by another minute.

Weston puts on his headphones and begins singing.

"We're not going to take it, no, we're not gonna take it, we're not going to take it anymore!"

In an effort to de-escalate the noise, I ignore Weston's singing and make a mental note to myself to encourage the lyrical lad to create a morning play list that does not include songs by bands with names like Twisted Sister.

"Hurry up Mom, we gotta leave," Weston shouts and pokes his brother once again.

"I can't take it," Nicholas screams as I grab my coat and head the dueling duo toward the garage door.

We climb quickly into the vehicle and speed off toward the school while I ponder once again the true meaning of the words, high maintenance.

We soon arrive at the school in our usual place at the bottom of the stairs.

"Bye Mom, Bye Nick," Weston shouts happily and leaps up the steps barely touching the concrete.

In front of my vehicle is a crosswalk. One of the cranky high school teachers is beginning to cross. In her arms is a large pile of heavy books. She leans to one side in an effort to straighten her leaning load of literature. She was Weston's 8th grade English teacher and not exactly one of his favorites. I look over at Weston. He has entered the doorway and I wonder for a moment, just what he will do.

I must admit, after his riotous antics of this morning, I half expect the boisterous boy to bound off into the school completely unaware of this poor woman's struggle. But he does not. Instead he stops. The impulsive boy is easily able to apply his brakes. He waits for the grouchy teacher to cross the street and walk up the stairs. He holds the door open widely for the crotchety crow and smiles at her brightly. The stern face breaks into a glowing grin as the typically cross teacher thanks the charming Weston for his chivalry.

I am speechless. Nicholas is also warmed by Weston's unusual display of morning kindness.

"Aww Mom, that was nice of Weston." he says and for just a moment Nicholas and I can see the heart of gold that is buried beneath that intolerable whirlwind of energy.

 It is as if Weston provides us with these little bursts of light, shining glimpses of the reality that is his soul and reminds us that despite his impulsiveness, his negativity, bad moods and anxiousness, he is still a lovable, kind and worthy human being.

We see you dear Weston.

We love you.