Before Harry started ADHD meds, shit was kind of hitting the fan at school in terms of behavior problems and friend drama. So, we got involved with his teacher, the principal, and the school psych to talk about how we could help Harry in a really positive way. Then we met with his own psychologist who suggested that CBT had been super helpful but we needed to go back to the psych or the pediatrician and think abut meds.
So we did.
And it has been really wonderful.
But that doesn't mean I am happy about it.
We had a follow-up with the team at school today, and they all had glowing reports about Harry which made me so mad, I exploded with vitriol all over the room, and my voice shook I was so pissed off. It sounded like I was bleating. I mean FUCK THEM sitting there and telling me how wonderful my kid is now that we've doped him up so he won't be a problem so they can manage him and the other 23 kids in the class. FUCK THEM. And I get it, you guys. ADHD is a real thing and the meds help his brain chemistry and now we can see how goddamn smart he has always been, I GET IT. But how totally fucked up is our society when SO MANY kids need these meds to function in our totally fucked up school system? Why fix the system? Let's pathologize and medicate the children instead and then crowd more of them in the room and take away their recess and restrict their gym access and make them take test after test after test and pathologize them more. Jesus.
So I just could not take the smugness, the air of "That's all we needed to do," in the room and I said basically the same thing I just said above with a lot less fucks and then Ben made fun of me and said I didn't have a problem with the meds, I have a problem with society. And then we said we were going to live off the grid, and everybody laughed. But not loud enough to cover the fact that I literally said I was disgusted with public education in general and with this school in particular but I have no other options because it's not like another public school is going to be magically better and anyway I have a fucking house right across the street and an albatross of a goddamn condo, so it's not like I am going anywhere. I can't afford to send 4 kids to the non-parochial private schools in town, and the evangelical ones teach that the world is flat, and I don't have time to homeschool because we both do lots of our work at home and this is my only option. I said that at least I was pretty confident that he wasn't being mistreated by behavior aids anymore and the school wasn't shattering his self esteem any longer, and the principal looked really sad, but it's the truth you guys.
But, really, my philosophical issues aside, the meds have been great for him. He has always done well academically, but now he is doing well on steroids.
This week, for instance, he told me he was all done with his math work on Wednesday. I was impressed because a few months ago, he had to bring his weekly work home and catch up over the weekend because he wasn't focusing in class. Then he explained that he was done with ALL of the math-- his group's AND the other four groups below his. On Wednesday. So, in his spare time, he filled a notebook with a complex and intricately illustrated comic about a baby bird who lost and found his parents. He's like the mouse in the If You Take a Mouse to the Movies book who makes a million Christmas tree ornaments in like 2 minutes.
I mean, we have said to him 3 meals a day, 7 days a week for 9 YEARS to please sit down before he starts eating. Before EVERY MEAL, we had to say, "Harry, please sit down before you take a bite," because he would start eating immediately on his way to his plate. We haven't said that in 6 weeks.
He is really happy and even more observant. He's less confrontational, and when he gets angry, he bounces back really fast. He has unlimited patience with the little kids. His anxiety is gone (he wants to stay home alone, even), and he's basically a joy to be around every minute of the day.
The thing is, he always WAS, and school sucks.
Ben would tell you this is not a totally accurate picture and would point out how much smoother things are going in sports (he almost got kicked out of a soccer league in the fall for screaming at the refs), how wonderful things are with his friends (social development was what really caused us to seek meds in the first place), etc. But I am stuck on the fact that there's something broken about our world when we take bright, happy kids and medicate them so they can perform in a shitty overcrowded classroom.
Maybe I will move off the grid. (Ha! Can you IMAGINE?)
The thing that always makes me feel better when I think about how much I hate school is the image I have created of Harry's teacher when she read our email telling her that he was starting medication. In my mind she ran down the hall gloating at his previous teachers, screaming Ha ha, you motherfuckers! I did it! Harry's on meds! Take that all you assholes! Ha! Pay up! And she clicked her heels together.