Carpool Lane

Carpool Lane - Meet Joline for a "CuppaJo" as she juggles two kids in school, homework, extracurricular activities and trying to find some "me" time.

 

 

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ADHD: Exploring Alternatives to Medication (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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adhd-shirtAt the age of 4 1/2, my energetic, inquisitive, enthusiastic, and confident pre-schooler disappeared.

Once game for everything, she feared even attending birthday parties. With her own friends. Her emotions were fragile. Tantrums and meltdowns like we had never experienced, would drop without warning. She was on edge. The little girl we knew was fading . . . the worry permeated our lives.

Perhaps you think this sounds normal for a 4-year old. It's just phase. "You just had a new baby!" This season will pass. Next month it will be something new.

Well, then there were the vacant eyes. Blue as all get out - but numb. The sparkle was gone. Glum, was the word we used to describe her.

Something was wrong.

We spent almost all of her kindergarten year trying to convince someone to believe us. "She's just adjusting. Don't worry." I would scream (inside) that I KNEW MY KID, but I just couldn't find anyone who would believe me - other than my family and close friends who knew my child since birth. They, too, saw the change. And didn't think I was crazy.

First grade came along, and she began to explain what she was feeling.

"All the thoughts stack up in my head. Up and up and up. Higher and higher. And they won't leave."

"I wish I had a key to unlock the lock on my forehead, open it up, and let my thoughts out."

"I'm nocturnal. I never shut off."

"I feel all this crummy stuff. Here." And she would point to her head.

NOW, I had their attention. I am thankful that her first grade teacher partnered with us to help find the right solutions and therapy for my girl. I just wanted her back.

She was diagnosed (after more than a month of testing - not just a trip to the family practitioner) with ADHD. Only, not the kind you automatically "know". She wasn't bouncing from seat to seat, unable to keep focus, doing poorly in school, or impulsive. No, hers had everything to do with an overstocked brain that needed relief. The overabundance of thoughts needed a heave-ho. And due to this build up of thoughts, she was now experiencing major social anxiety. She had developed a phobia about being around people - even familiar ones. Once, at an event, she remarked, "My body wants to do what everyone is doing, but my head is stopping me." WHERE WAS MY KID?!

That was first grade. Within one week of taking medication, my daughter returned. No hyperbole here. She was back. Her eyes had a fire in them once again. She was smiling. More sure of herself. Enjoying herself. Participating again. You will NEVER hear me judge another parent for choosing medication for their child.

She is now in 6th grade and has been on her the same dose of medication since 3rd grade. We're never had need to increase it. Only, with recent height and weight increases, and some "scatteredness" towards the end of the school year, we thought now (the summer) would be the best time to experiment with an increase in her dosage.

Only . . . within 2 hours of taking the increase, she went . . . glum. Solemn. Disappeared. I thought she was just in some tween slump, but again, she spoke up,

"I don't feel well. It's like, I'm sad. Only, I'm not. And it just kind of happened."

That was three weeks ago. I tried the medication for another week or so, but her reaction did not imporove. She was moody. Irritable. Sullen. So, I stopped giving it to her. I didn't want to lose her personality again. Instead, now that she's older, we had a huge talk about nutrition and how with healthier foods and the new addition of Omega 3 vitamins, we may be able to curb this sucker. But, it would involve sacrifice.  We are slowly removing the bulk (not all) of the gluten. Dyes and HFCS were removed years ago. Breakfast is protein. Lunches for school will be carefully packed for sustenance and endurance, for she herself "felt" a meltdown after having a bagel and potatoes on vacation. Her response to those foods was like a light-bulb on a dimmer switch - she slowly faded upon eating them. And we, my husband and I, witnessed her body go from energetic to complete slump within 30 minutes of downing the carbo-loaded meal. She said she hated that feeling. Food is supposed to make you feel good, right? Food is fuel. So, I'm thankful she's old enough to partner with me on this now. 

I know the medication helped when she was younger.

I also know certain foods effect her greatly. I am a HUGE believer that we do not give enough credit to how food can effect us - for good and for absolutely downright horrible. 

So, for us, right now, the course is nutrition and vitamins. Sure, that could change.

Has anyone else had this experience? Going from a medication that worked, to the SAME medication not working, to a change in nutrition and the addition of vitamins to help treat ADHD naturally???

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

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Confession: Summer is my LEAST favorite season

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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images_48It's true.

While I don't HATE summer, 'cause I really don't hate anything (except maybe cancer and other death-wielding evils), I honestly do not like it.

"Are you having a relaxing summer?"

"What did you do this summer?"

"Don't you love the hazy, lazy days of summer?"

My answers?

No.

The same stuff I do every other season, only with trips thrown in, lack of a solid schedule, a TON more juggling, and dirty feet.

No.

Thankfully, right now, my kids are upstairs listening to a book on CD - part of the designated "down time" that as a rule, must be built into everyday. See, thing is, I have a job. And my job is done from home (yes - a nice perk). And while during the school year I have from 9-3 to do that job, during the summer, the workload does not change. The number of people home during the day does. Which affects my ability to get concentrated time. I actually have to work harder in order for things to be easier.

Does that make sense?

Add to that the heat, late nights thanks to the Olympics, and an off-kilter schedule and you've got one irritable mama.

Summer exhausts me.

I really enjoy my children. I actually think they are super cool kids. So before someone remarks, "Cherish the time with your kids!", that's not the point I'm trying to make. I DO cherish the time and have enjoyed taking them on a trip to Washintong D.C. and another coming up next week,  and to Karate, the pool, various camps/activities here and there throughout the summer, having their friends over during the day, shuttling them to some fantastic church events  - it's all GOOD.

And because I WANT these things for them, we've worked them in to our summer.

But that doesn't change what I must complete during the day so that we can afford for my 11 year old to get braces in January (Yeah!). Someone has to pay for that. And while I do make her save up for many things, I think braces are my responsibility ;-).

So, yeah. I'm tired.

And I need a vacation. During a different season, please.

I'm ready for Fall.

Herein lies my confession.

Summer is my LEAST favorite season. Perhaps for many it is casual, relaxed, and a nice "break" during the year. Over here, we experience the direct opposite.

What is your favorite season?

What is your least favorite season?


 

pittsburgh_mom_copyJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Confession: Summer is my LEAST favorite season (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

images_48It's true.

While I don't HATE summer, 'cause I really don't hate anything (except maybe cancer and other death-wielding evils), I honestly do not like it.

"Are you having a relaxing summer?"

"What did you do this summer?"

"Don't you love the hazy, lazy days of summer?"

My answers?

No.

The same stuff I do every other season, only with trips thrown in, lack of a solid schedule, a TON more juggling, and dirty feet.

No.

Thankfully, right now, my kids are upstairs listening to a book on CD - part of the designated "down time" that as a rule, must be built into everyday. See, thing is, I have a job. And my job is done from home (yes - a nice perk). And while during the school year I have from 9-3 to do that job, during the summer, the workload does not change. The number of people home during the day does. Which affects my ability to get concentrated time. I actually have to work harder in order for things to be easier.

Does that make sense?

Add to that the heat, late nights thanks to the Olympics, and an off-kilter schedule and you've got one irritable mama.

Summer exhausts me.

I really enjoy my children. I actually think they are super cool kids. So before someone remarks, "Cherish the time with your kids!", that's not the point I'm trying to make. I DO cherish the time and have enjoyed taking them on a trip to Washintong D.C. and another coming up next week,  and to Karate, the pool, various camps/activities here and there throughout the summer, having their friends over during the day, shuttling them to some fantastic church events  - it's all GOOD.

And because I WANT these things for them, we've worked them in to our summer.

But that doesn't change what I must complete during the day so that we can afford for my 11 year old to get braces in January (Yeah!). Someone has to pay for that. And while I do make her save up for many things, I think braces are my responsibility ;-).

So, yeah. I'm tired.

And I need a vacation. During a different season, please.

I'm ready for Fall.

Herein lies my confession.

Summer is my LEAST favorite season. Perhaps for many it is casual, relaxed, and a nice "break" during the year. Over here, we experience the direct opposite.

What is your favorite season?

What is your least favorite season?


 

pittsburgh_mom_copyJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Questions I'm Tired of Answering

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

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images_40Confession.

I'm not the best house-cleaner. I don't have a schedule for attacking the cleanliness of my house (although I have made attempts to create a system for this.) The bathroom (we only have one) IS scrubbed regularly. As is the kitchen. But the floors, baseboards, and walls? Nah.

Under the furniture?

I don't even wanna know.

But for what I lack in scrubbing, I make up for in organization. 

Everthing has its place in our home. And if if doesn't, I'll create a space for it.

And that is precisely why I'm at my wits end as we enter the second-half of the summer.

If I hear these statements, questions, and responses even one more time, I think my primal scream is gonna make an appearance.

"Mom, I can't find my shoes!"

"My iPod, where is my iPod?"

"Where are my goggles?"

The shoes? Not my problem, we have an entire shoe museum immedately as you walk in our home. A basket and a shelf stand ready to welcome them.

The iPod? Even less of my problem.

The goggles? They should be in the swim-bag, WHERE THEY BELONG!

Makes me wonder if I should create a "lost and found" box for the house . . . just plop any misplaced items in the box, when I stumble upon them, rather than putting them away myself. (I'm stubborn like that.)

There is one more continual thread that is irking me to the core. It's the "umph!" or the "awwww!" when I REMIND my children of their chores for the day:

"Unload the dishwasher, please."

"Umph!"

"Put your clean clothes away, please."

"Awwwww!"

Sometimes, admittedly, Moms just wanna yell, "Would you just shut-up!"

It's true.

Even for me.

Since I am tired of hearing the sound of my own voice, we spent some time at a craft store picking up supplies to make "First Things First" boards. The kids decorated and listed the items that Mom most often repeats DAILY. They posted the boards in their rooms. 

Will it fix the issue?

Most likely not.

Did it provide a few hours of respite from the conversations mentioned above, and provide a glimmer of hope that I will no longer have to hear those phrases utter from my mouth?

Sure.

Now, if they can only find where they put their boards after creating them . . . 

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coachand sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Questions I'm Tired of Answering (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

images_40Confession.

I'm not the best house-cleaner. I don't have a schedule for attacking the cleanliness of my house (although I have made attempts to create a system for this.) The bathroom (we only have one) IS scrubbed regularly. As is the kitchen. But the floors, baseboards, and walls? Nah.

Under the furniture?

I don't even wanna know.

But for what I lack in scrubbing, I make up for in organization. 

Everthing has its place in our home. And if if doesn't, I'll create a space for it.

And that is precisely why I'm at my wits end as we enter the second-half of the summer.

If I hear these statements, questions, and responses even one more time, I think my primal scream is gonna make an appearance.

"Mom, I can't find my shoes!"

"My iPod, where is my iPod?"

"Where are my goggles?"

The shoes? Not my problem, we have an entire shoe museum immedately as you walk in our home. A basket and a shelf stand ready to welcome them.

The iPod? Even less of my problem.

The goggles? They should be in the swim-bag, WHERE THEY BELONG!

Makes me wonder if I should create a "lost and found" box for the house . . . just plop any misplaced items in the box, when I stumble upon them, rather than putting them away myself. (I'm stubborn like that.)

There is one more continual thread that is irking me to the core. It's the "umph!" or the "awwww!" when I REMIND my children of their chores for the day:

"Unload the dishwasher, please."

"Umph!"

"Put your clean clothes away, please."

"Awwwww!"

Sometimes, admittedly, Moms just wanna yell, "Would you just shut-up!"

It's true.

Even for me.

Since I am tired of hearing the sound of my own voice, we spent some time at a craft store picking up supplies to make "First Things First" boards. The kids decorated and listed the items that Mom most often repeats DAILY. They posted the boards in their rooms. 

Will it fix the issue?

Most likely not.

Did it provide a few hours of respite from the conversations mentioned above, and provide a glimmer of hope that I will no longer have to hear those phrases utter from my mouth?

Sure.

Now, if they can only find where they put their boards after creating them . . . 

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.