That’s what Bubba always says, and to some extent I believe it, although I’ve always been more comfortable with the notion that there is some concrete Reality/Truth out there somewhere that is discoverable. It gives me hope. It helps me to trust that I just have to buckle down, put in some elbow grease and keep looking until I can finally shout, “Eureka!”
Some days, this is why parenting sucks. Because while we can look at ‘norms’ and ‘averages,’ each of our kids is an individual and they have their own quirks and lovable qualities and refusals to FIT IN THAT DAMN PIGEONHOLE ALREADY.
So Lola has some quirks. Okay, a lot of quirks. But that is what makes Lola, Lola. (I know that comma doesn’t belong there, but I needed the pause in between the two Lolas, so I had to leave it there). About six months ago, she began complaining of “habits” that bug her. I noticed them a long time ago, but figured that as long as they didn’t cause her any problems and she was otherwise healthy, I was going to leave them alone. Time’s up, Mom. She had gradually become aware of a tendency to raise her eyebrows and then scrunch them down as far as they could go. She did this about forty times a day, generally when she was physically still, like playing a card game or listening to a story or working out a problem at school. She was afraid that the other kids would notice and begin to make fun of her and, frankly, it freaked her out that it didn’t seem to be something she could stop doing.
She progressed from this to what we call the ‘bunny face’ where the skin on the bridge of her nose gathers up and she puckers up like she wants a kiss. Finally, about a month ago, she began noticing a severe eye roll to the top left that, by the end of the day, left her with awful headaches. Add to this a tendency to “claw” her hands when she needs to use them for something that requires concentration (piano practice, card games, math problems), and she is frustrated.
Those of you with kids who don’t fit the ‘norms’ will understand what ensued next. As many disparate ideas as there are specialists. My therapist offered to score a test for ADHD (seems Lola scores in the 90th percentile for hyperactivity – duh). The naturopath suggested we test for more food allergies, B vitamin deficiency, and anything that can cause hypersensitivity. Bubba doesn’t see it. Or maybe he doesn’t want to because perception is reality. Or maybe it’s just that he rarely spends quiet time with Lola – they are usually wrestling or shooting hoops or chasing each other around the yard. Lola’s teachers haven’t expressed concern, but she’s in a nontraditional school setting – she’s allowed to pace while she reads to herself, work cross-legged on the floor, dissect lamb hearts and brains, and help design her own curriculum. What teacher would notice hyperactivity or tics in that setting?
The therapist and the doctor see it. Lola feels it. She admits not telling her father about it because she’s embarrassed. In the meantime, I’m loathe to medicate her for ADHD since those symptoms don’t seem to be causing her problems and, what if they take away the essential Lola-ness that she has to be funny and crazy and impulsive (well, I could lose some of the impulsivity…). Are the tics Tourette’s? I long suspected that Dad had some form of Tourette’s, but he’s gone now and there’s nobody to corroborate that.
I’m at a crossroads and wondering whether there is some concrete Reality/Truth out there that is discoverable. If so, should I kill myself to find it? If not, what’s the best course of action? And whose perceptions trump whose? Is Bubba’s reality more real than mine? What about Lola’s?