One of Martha's teachers at the middle school has rubbed me the wrong way several times over this school year... whenever she speaks to me or e-mails me, I get the distinct sense that she has a very low opinion of my parenting skills and methods. I don't think she believes that Martha needs medication, just a more on-the-ball mother.
Most of the time, I can shrug it off, but it still irritates me to receive an e-mail from her that delineates just exactly what I ought to be doing at home with regards to Martha's routine. I'd like to send Martha home with her to live with her for a few months and just see how her opinions would change.
I will not apologize for my parenting. I may not be the most organized mother on the face of the earth, but my kids are clean and well-fed and polite and decent AND they are loved unconditionally by their mom & dad.
There are some battles I have learned it's too much work to fight. I can successfully force Martha to do some things, but is it worth the Herculean effort required? Most of the time it isn't. There are lots of things I'd like for her to do or to be, but I've had to adjust my expectations in the interest of a peaceful home life. You find out pretty quickly just what really IS negotiable. For example, a diet consisting solely of Fruity Pebbles, Spaghettios and Ramen Noodles may not be the most well-balanced one ever, but it's not a huge deal in the grand scheme of life. Eventually she will want other things, and in the meantime we will have saved ourselves the angst and frustration of trying to force her to eat something else. Heck... at least she gets something to eat. There are lots of little Haitian children who get nothing. When you've traveled in a third-world country, your perspective changes.
All that being said, I am going to sing the praises of the person who invented the drug Abilify. It has made an enormous difference in the life of our family. Martha is more cheerful and cooperative than she has ever been in her life, and she has joined the family as an active participant. She still has her personality, mind you, but she doesn't spend herself in violent, turbulent emotion. She speaks to people in public.
She's done a lot of changing this year, both physically and emotionally. It's been a momentous and fearsome year so far, with a lot of no-going-back-now sorts of events. I know that it's only the beginning, but for the first time in a very long time I do have hope that we will make it through these next six and a half years with her.