Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nilla Wafers Banana Pudding

I figured after the last several posts, we could all use a little cheering up.  Nothing does it for me quite like comfort food.  This is another one of those southern staples that so many have tried to re-create.  Try as they may, they ALL fail miserably!  I grew up eating this delectable concoction all through the year, not just picnic season. I hope you will enjoy it as well!

3/4 cup sugar
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
box of vanilla wafers
6 medium bananas, sliced

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour, and salt in top of double boiler; stir in milk.  Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Beat egg yolks, adding slowly to the hot mixture.  Return to double boiler and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, and add vanilla.  Line the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart (or 9x13) with cookies.  Top with bananas and custard.  Continue layers, ending with custard on top.  Beat egg whites stiff, not dry.  Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Pile on casserole.  Bake at 425 for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Serve warm or chilled.

Hope y'all enjoy this as much as I do. Let me know if you like it.  No other banana pudding-wannabes will be accepted after you eat this--I promise! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Real Deal (or, my authentic self)

Lately I have been feeling out of sorts, and I wonder if some of that doesn't stem from me trying to appear a certain way.  I want to be seen as patient, kind, understanding, confident.  I want to be the mom who appears to be cool-and-collected, the "fun" mom, the "cool" mom.  But what are any of those things really?  Those labels are mostly applied by people outside the realm of my home.  It would be terrific if people really thought those things of me.  But the more important issue is how I see myself, and how my kids see me.  To achieve that, I must break off the relationship I have with negative self-talk; I must seek joy in the everyday things; I must be honest with myself and others; I need to break out of my comfort zone, and be afraid to try new things; I must allow myself to fail (and succeed!); I must forgive myself (and other).

Today, I will be honest with you about myself.  Here are a few things that you may or may not know about me:
  • I love to eat.  A lot.  I am working hard on changing this, because this way of life is too damaging to continue.
  • I have lousy teeth, and I hate the dentist.
  • I am the opposite of high-maintenance: I don't use a blow dryer or styling products for my hair; I rarely wear make up; I own tennies and sandals, with dress shoes in the standard colors (black, white, etc).
  • I would rather load the dishwasher than unload it.  Same for packing a suitcase versus unpacking it.
  • I believe in God, but do not go to church.  I pray every night, and we say the blessing before dinner each evening.
  • I prefer to drive a manual transmission vehicle.
  • I would love to have a creative outlet outside of coloring with my kids.
Feel free to ask me anything you wish.  There is no guarantee that I will answer the questions, but I have nothing to hide.  Here's a parting question for you: what are your sources of joy?
Thanks for reading, and keep coming back--I hope you get to know me while I get to know myself!

No answers

So we still don't have any answers about Nathan.  I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get him seen by a pediatric neurologist.  The more I read and watch his behaviors, the more I think that the original diagnosis of ADHD is wrong.  I really feel like there is a sensory aspect to all of his behaviors/issues.  Of course, I am no doctor, but it seems to me that a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a better fit. 
He has been on the a stimulant now for about 3 1/2 weeks, and hasn't shown much improvement.  I see that most of the things that were issues before are still issues.  I am really anxious about registering him for school, but I know that I have to do it for him, and for me.  I am frustrated, he is frustrated, and it makes for a very tense household!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


We've all heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20.  Upon receiving a diagnosis for Nathan, and doing some reading on ADHD, I see things about his development that now make sense:
  • Nathan has always been on the go.  It used to drive me bonkers that he couldn't sit down at the dinner table for all his squirming.  He also had a tough time with circle/line time.  Surprisingly, he has always done very well on long car rides. 
  • Because of his inability to focus or stay on task, potty training was a nightmare.  He didn't want to be bothered to pay attention to the signals his body was giving him.  Also, just the act of going into the bathroom was a problem because he didn't want to stop his activity.
  • He has a low frustration-tolerance.  I thought it was just because he was my child; I don't have much patience and I get frustrated when things don't go just the right way.  This may be the answer for why he can't hold a writing utensil correctly, or write many letters or numbers.  He can tell you precisely how they are formed, and can make letters/shapes out of other things (like pretzels or blocks).  I think he just can't be bothered to sit still long enough to learn how.  I wonder if that was my dad's problem?
  • I do believe that his lack of focus is also to blame for him not riding his bike more proficiently.  He can steer OR pedal, but he has a tough time remembering to do both.  Same thing with his scooter.  We have been practicing, but it has to be his idea.
In spite of his struggles and challenges, Nathan does some other things amazingly well.  Like reading--he is reading well beyond what I consider a 1st grade level, and his vocabulary is quite large.  He is quite articulate, more so than some older kids I know.  I also feel like there are no strangers to Nathan--he will talk to anyone he encounters.  He has a wonderful memory--he forgets NOTHING.  I sometimes wonder if he has a photographic memory.

So here is my question to you: what do you see better now that you are beyond a certain situation?
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Putting it all out there...

     See that sweet face up there?  Yes, I realize he is only 3 here, but that's not the point.  The point is that my sweet, affectionate, curious and highly-intelligent son is possessed.  I don't mean in the traditional Satanic and demonic way; but in a very real way, known to the general public as ADHD. 
     I can't even tell you when it first started, or when I began to notice that things were just "not right."  Nathan talked early, and talked well.  Once he started, he never stopped.  Ever (except for sleep!).  But I didn't see anything wrong with it; in fact, it was a comfort for me that on nights he couldn't/didn't fall asleep easily, I could hear him chattering away to himself in his bed--there was very little fussing or crying. I do believe he would talk himself to sleep.  Now there is no quiet unless he is sleeping.
     Nathan was also able to entertain himself for long periods of time (upwards of 45 min as a toddler).  It meant I could do housework, cook a meal, or <gasp> read a book.  However, when it came time for him to sit still for others (ie, circle time at school) he couldn't.  It wasn't even a matter of wouldn't.  He was/is physically unable to sit still (not to mention quietly) unless it is of his own choosing.  Even now, the only times he sits for any length of time are when he is reading (again, there is quiet) or when he is in front of his computer. I also noticed that he started playing with his fingers (putting one fingernail under another, chewing or picking at the skin around his nails). He is easily distracted and has a hard time focusing on things.  I chalked it up to him being "all boy."  And some of that is true.  But his inability to sit/be still has caused problems, and I fear it will continue to do so when he attends "real" school in the fall.
      He is impulsive, prone to mood swings and tantrums, and sometimes out-right rude and out of control.  One of the most difficult things for me is that I dont' know which Nathan I will get when he wakes in the morning.  He is destructive, especially when angry, and cannot be trusted not to demolish things.  He can be physically abusive to family, friends, and schoolmates. I don't believe that it is all malicious, though certainly some, if not most, of it is.  Rather, I believe he sees it as a science experiment--what will happen to X if I do/say/ Y.  He sees the consequence(s) of his action as a scientific result, not as an "I did something bad, and deserve to be reprimanded." 
   We have tried charts, points, rewards, goals, counting to 3 (which has by far been the most effective), loss of privileges, sending him to his room.   When these things failed, I knew it was time to seek professional help.  We started seeing a therapist here in town--she helped me tweak some of the behavior modifications that I had tried.  That helped some.  By this time, hubby and I were seriously thinking about medicating Nathan.  Did we really want to medicate a child under the age of 5?  What if the medication(s) didn't help, or made things worse?  Was there anything else we could try?  Sadly, we were not able to come up with any other alternatives.  Just after the new year started, Nathan started taking a non-stimulant.  The side effects were minimal. Unfortunately, the benefits were as well.  Now, with his 5th birthday imminent, we are planning to "celebrate" by getting a prescription filled for a stimulant. 
     Now, if you are still reading, thank you!  I am sharing this because I need people to know that my child is not a monster. I am so sorry if my child ever hurt yours--I can't begin to  say how sorry I am, because it can never be enough. He is not a bad kid. He is not a bully.  I don't want him to be the one parents roll their eyes at upon seeing him.  I want him to have friends.  I want him to feel like a normal kid, whatever that means.  I want him to be successful in school, and whatever else he may want to try (sports, chess, gardening, etc). 
   I also need for people to understand how exhausting and frustrating it can be as a parent in this situation.  I have left work (with kids in tow) in tears.  I go to sleep crying some nights.  I get angry, irritable, and mean.  I yell at my kids.  I pop Nathan's hands and behind.  I don't like it.  I hate being angry with him.  It is NOT his fault, or mine, that he is this way.  I wish I could wave a magic wand to bring back my sweet child.  I know he is still there, for I see glimpses of him every now and then.