Georgia on my mind ….

I have often spoken about how difficult it has become to discipline Georgia, and I think the thing I need to possibly stress is that she is not a naughty child, she just wanders off … in her head.

Today I went to fetch her from school, and she was busy in speech therapy.

I sat and listened to the last 10 minutes of the lesson, and then I asked Georgia if she would go and fetch her bag, and I could chat to speech therapy teacher.

Tertia – speech therapy teacher – explained the words and concepts that Georgia was struggling with and we started chatting about Georgia in general, and her progress.

I mentioned a few things that were beginning to become real concerns to me regarding Georgia – and they were not necessarily speech issues, but possible with her experience in childhood development she might be able to offer some insights that I was missing.

I really am not the type of mother that sticks her head into the sand and avoids seeing the issue.  I am more likely to start throwing water on a perfectly good bush, because I anticipate there might be a fire …. one day.

Tertia and I are chatting and at some point I look outside at Georgia.  She is playing with her friends.  But she isn’t.  Her friends are playing around her, and Georgia is playing on her own, or to correct in her own world.

I start explaining how much I struggle with Georgia because she drifts off so quickly – and often… almost all the time at the moment.  In the last two months it has got progressively worse.

An example is that in the morning I put toothpaste on her toothbrush.

Only because if I ask her to do that part it will take her 25 minutes. 

I then leave her in the bathroom, infront of the basin, aimed towards the mirror, and I will go: “Please brush now, inside and out, smiley-teeth and back-teeth, brush for two minutes, not fast, but properly ….. for two minutes.”

“Okay?”

“Okay, mommy.”

She will smile at me, and I will go and get undressed, get into the shower, wash, wash and condition my hair, brush my teeth – yes, I brush my teeth in the shower.

Wash conditioner out of the shower, allow myself the 30 seconds where the hot water runs against the top of my spine, and then I turn water off, get out, get towel, do a basic dry off, assess how crap I look and how much I really should take a bit more time to get my sh&t together in the morning.

Take the cream away from Isabelle, comfort Isabelle because she is crying, tickle Isabelle, put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and give it to Isabelle, stand and smile at her as she brushes her teeth and is getting dribble and toothpaste all over her chin and down her sleep shirt, realize that I need to go and check on Georgia, kiss Isabelle on the head as I move her backwards so I do not get her toes caught on the bathroom door as I open it.

Walk down the passage back to the other bathroom.

Arrive in the bathroom and find Georgia standing in the bath – there is no water in the bath – she will be singing or have a bucket on her head and singing.  The unused toothbrush will still be in her hand, with the tooth paste totally undisturbed – and clearly no teeth have been brushed.  Fifteen or twenty five minutes have passed at this point.

She is not deeply ashamed or mischievously smiling when I find her.  She will look at me and go: “Look I have a bucket on my head!”

Obviously at this point I go off POP!  Like blind rage.

There is screaming and shouting and much child pulling out of bath and threats of bodily harm and it is all a little bit fish wife.

But short of a few details this is pretty much how it goes with Georgia every day, when I ask her to do something.

I can just substitute “panties on head and dancing around the bedroom” with the “ bucket on the head” or even “sitting on her floor writing on a piece of paper” will work equally well.

I am lamenting my life to teacher Tertia, not because I think she can help, but because I am at my wits end and I am not sure who else to talk to.

I know the answer is not to beat the crap out of Gerogia, or send her to her room for 6 months  – none of these punishments work for her.  The only person who feels crap when they are being dished out is me – Georgia toodles on in her own world, “min gepla” as they would say.

Teacher Tertia and I sit watching Georgia and she goes: “You know Georgia is not a stupid girl, I bet if she did an IQ test she would score very high, but she gets distracted …. she gets internally distracted and that is where the problem lies.”

“Internally distracted” – I have never heard such an appropriate term to describe Georgia.

She chatted about the fact that it is often the loud/ADD kids who get the attention because they get so distract by what is around them, and kids like Georgia who get overlooked because they are so quiet, and are not misbehaving – but they are operating in thier heads and away from everyone else – day dreaming for lack of a better term.

Tertia also said that if she is working with Georgia and something happens and she has to attend do it, Georgia will sit in the same place and just sit there – as happy as Larry.  She says usually a kid who is not being attended to will get up and go off and play with the toys in the classroom, or something, she says Georgia will sit there quite content to drift off into her own world.

Listen I think all of this is wonderful and I love the fact that Georgia is as unique as she is – she is quirky!

Someone said to me yesterday: ”Georgia is so quirky, she is going to be the kind of person who opens a vibey coffee shop, and it has all this detail and she has all these interesting people there.”

She probably would …. the problem is that she will still be dancing in her room with her panties on her head and forget to go and open the coffee shop!

I am concerned that Georgia might not be main stream education material.  Her in a class of 25 kids when the kids have to absorb a body of work quickly because the teacher is talking to all of them, is probably not ideal.

I see her wandering off – in her head – and sitting there staring at the teacher as if she is listening, but in her head she is dancing naked in the rain with a bucket on hear head listening to the tippa-tippa-tippa-tippa sound of the water on top of the bucket!

Tertia recommended I chat to a specialist paed who deals with attention-issues relating to children, and she recommended someone for me to call.  She said the best thing to do is get her assessed.

What are my options in terms of ‘rectifying’ the issue, and Tertia said, I am not sure, maybe medication.

And then I sighed a bit, actually quite deeply … but not in happiness you understand.

I have the doctor’s number, I will call and set up an appointment to see what she says and just try and get some ideas of how to deal with this better (prefer no medication though, before the mother grundy emails start about who I should not medicate my child and and and ….)

I fetched Georgia and Connor and decided to stop for some ice cream. 

I then watched Connor eat his ice cream neatly in an organized fashion.  Same table, same type of ice cream, Georgia had hers on her jacket, on her chin, on her nose, on the table, on her shirt and on her forehead, and then the last bit fell out the bottom of her cone and fell on her lap!

<sigh>

This photo is classic Georgia … she is the one on the left hand side doing her Yoga deep meditation while everyone else is monkeying around for a photo …..

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16 Comments

  1. Tania

     /  April 6, 2011

    Hi. We changed schools for Ethan. He is now far less distracted. Less children. They sit in an “office” and not 2 by 2 in rows of 5 and 5 across. When he sits he cannot see any movement to his left or right. He is in Grade 4 and his average monthly percentage is 98.5%. Perhaps a school change is a good idea to consider, one more suited to Georgia’s needs. Good Luck!

    Reply
  2. Ah girl, kids differ so much Our L, who has recently been diagnosed with Sensory integration disorder is also “different”. He dreams, he does not hear you, he lives in his own world. The Occupational therapy has been a huge life saver.

    I think you can only gain knowledge by having her assessed – what about an OT?

    BTW – look into Sportron’s Nervitron – L is on it and it has made such a difference too = does have lots of omegas etc and is made for attention etc problems. BTW – he is extremely intelligent. Sounds like Georgia?

    Reply
  3. Anita

     /  March 31, 2011

    Do you remember my darling son at the same age? He used to be totally wrapped up in his own world and you had to physically attract his attention before he heard or responded to what you were saying. At one point you even spoke to me about it and suggested I have him checked out.

    We were fortunate enough to have not have to force him into traditional, mainstream education so that his quirkiness was not destroyed but look where he finds himself today?! And he loves it.

    The point is that eventually they all grow up and outgrow their quirkiness or find other outlets for it once their behaviour becomes more socially acceptable. It’s what makes each child unique and more importantly, memorable. Imagine a world of bland, boring people, hell, we’d have no blogs to read!

    Reply
  4. Countess Kaz

     /  March 30, 2011

    All these comments to your blog are so interesting. I have a Cerebral Palsy daughter, so know all about having a “different” kind of child. Try her on Omega 3 and 6. Polish up her strengths and keep an eye on her “zoning out’.

    Reply
  5. joanne

     /  March 30, 2011

    So many thoughts on this one;

    As a mom with a son who is very similar. Only thing is my son will walk around with a towel on his head (long hair) pretending to be Hannah Montana, singing into his “Mic”, being adored by a “crowd” while his friends are playing around him, or I’m waiting for him to eat his breakfast, brush his teeth, hair whatever the thing of the moment. (yes, my boy may have a hard road of ridicule and acceptance issues ahead of him – I’m well aware)

    I find things go better when I talk TO him and not AT him.

    An earlier comment “If you don’t throw water at this bush it is going to continue growing”. They’re our children! Don’t we want them to grow? Why should they grow into “mini-me’s” why not grow into bigger, better “thems”.

    Yes there will be challenges and yes they won’t be mainstream and schooling will be a challenge and life will have curves for them that will be different, but why do they have to conform? I think we need to teach socially acceptable behaviour and assist in the development of children that can function with confidence within societies norms, (don’t steal, lie, cheat, remember to listen to a parent or teacher, brush teeth, get out of bed and join the world and so on and so on), but she (they) will have their place in the sun. They don’t need to be “Fixed”.

    Some of the most successful people I know today are those who ‘bucked’ the system growing up, marched to the beat of their own drums.

    I stumbled across a quote this morning that just helped me remember this point again (after a trying morning)
    “We worry what a child will become tomorrow, but forget that he is someone today”

    Yes get help and a few opinions, but consider all options even the possibility that she was born to be different and trying to change that won’t change her, but may only make her resent who she is….

    Hard stuff this parenthood thing……

    Just as a footnote:
    I’m not saying no discipline and kids can run wild,, doing as they please, without consequence, I did say within societies norms of which listening to authority and being respectful are key to functioning in society

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  March 30, 2011

      Hey Joanne

      I definitely do not want to stifle any of Georgia’s uniqueness- the stuff that makes her her, but at the same time I realise that the way I am dealing with her at the moment is not right for her – and I am not sure of how else to interact with her to still get us through the day in one piece.

      My biggest concern is mainstream schooling – she is in Grade R now and needs to be ready for Grade 1 in a few months. Attempting to embrace her quirkiness and ignoring the fact that she might not “be mainstream” is not going to help her in any way.

      Going to see a specialist for an assessment is not with the idea to medicate or change her, it is to understand if this is just a child with a very unique attribute, or a child that needs to be nurtured differently to get the best out of her.

      I realise that my options are:

      1. Change with her medication (natural/synthetic/homeopathic)
      2. Understand what makes her tick, and tap into that – this would require me to understand how she is programmed and know how to reach her.
      3. Be taught skills to allow me to mould her into what I think she needs to be to get through life and be happy.
      4. Realise that maybe mainstream education is not suited to her, and if I understand how she works – mentally – then I can understand the type of schooling that is probably going to work best.
      5. Accept the situation as it is, do nothing and continue with our lives and hope fo rthe best.

      The reality is that it is probably going to be some of these options or a selection of them. Taking her to be assessed is in no way indicating that I want to change her or medicate her, it is an indication that I realise I have a child that might be a little different from the norm, and I might need some help trying to get through to her.

      More than anything I want Georgia to stay who she is and be healthy and happy – possibly just with a little less time spent dancing in the bath with a bucket on her head.

      Reply
    • joanne

       /  March 31, 2011

      This was an emotional outburst from an Adult who felt ‘unworthy’ as a child for not being like my siblings. I always felt I was only good enough if I could be the same as them and being the same was not within my power.

      Hit the FF button and a lifetime later I am blessed with a son that challenges me every day –

      Do I love him for who he is (and I do adore him!)? or do I push the issue of ‘normal’ behavior?

      Do I try change him to make his life easier (possibly causing a lifetime of damage and self esteem issues) or do I teach him self confidence in his differences so that he can get through the harshness that will be his world (possibly causing a ‘phase’ to become a forever)

      So my response was more about a world that may either;

      Be unkind to my child for being different
      Or
      Force him to conform to avoid ridicule
      Or
      Have him hate himself for being himself …..

      And not so much about you or Georgia or the decisions and choices you now face as a parent.

      I am sorry.

      Reply
      • reluctantmom

         /  March 31, 2011

        Joanne, it is fine, I put myself out here on this blog and accept that not everyone is always going to agree with my point of view, and that is okay, else there really would be no point in a public blog.

        I appreciate that you felt strongly about the issue and were courageous enough to stand on your soapbox and have your say – really no offense taken. I am thrilled that readers want to state thier case and possibly challenge my stance on things – it makes me think about issues differently, and even this, it has indicated that I need to tread carefully.

        I do not want to change Georgia in any way – I want to understand her and more importantly I want to ensure I match her with a school/teaching method that brings out her strengths rather than crushes her uniqueness. She will always be that “slightly different girl” and that is great with me – I like my stuff a little different, and I got a lot different with her.

        Reply
  6. Georgia sounds like she is growing up to be a real excentric little person, but I can understand that it would be so frustrating and worrisome for you.

    I think you should get a nice pat on the shoulder and a gold star for being a good mom. A lot of us would just ignore the whole thing and let the bush burst into fire before we discuss the problem with someone or even give it some attention. A visit to the pead is a very good idea, as it will either ease your fears or give you a starting point from which to adres the issue.

    Good luck.

    Reply
  7. I am going to mail you!! Georgia is Kiara!!!!

    Your posts could be written about Kiara – exactly!!!

    But I will mail you more about it 🙂

    Reply
  8. Luddite Lass

     /  March 30, 2011

    Please let me have the name and contact details of the paed. My elder son also has attention issues – not ADHD – where he gets completely distracted from the task at hand and forgets what he was supposed to be doing in the first place. Teeth brushing is also a war zone – lol! My son goes to an OT and that helps a lot. No word of meds.

    Reply
  9. julz

     /  March 29, 2011

    If you don’t throw water at this bush it is going to continue growing.

    I am sure the paed will have excellent insight. You could even consult a homeopath once you have a report from the paed and meds may not be required at all.

    Good luck. x

    Reply
  10. Charne

     /  March 29, 2011

    That pic is CLASSIC!!!

    On a serious note, you are probably right about main stream education not being ideal for her – I think she would probably thrive at a Montessori school, only problem is we don’t have a Montessori High School in CPT yet, so if you go that route, after 7th grade, you’ll be worse off than now …………………

    Reply
  11. Sharon

     /  March 29, 2011

    It will be very interesting to hear what the specialist pead has to say!
    Good for you for taking this seriously Celeste, its probably nothing to worry about but I’d have to agree with you, its best to know what you’re dealing with and pre-empt in future problems (water-on-a-perfeclty-fine-bush-in-case-of-a-fire-and-all!)
    Keep us posted on what the pead says!

    Reply
  12. Aww.. I can see how that would be frustrating – especially when you tell her the same thing over and over and she’s in her own little world.
    As someone who likes to escape into my own world (maybe not to the same extent as Georgia) – it’s something that she’ll probably grow out of to a certain extent.. she’ll learn to be more aware of her surroundings. But, a doctor’s visit is probably a good idea.

    Reply

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