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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

To kill or not to kill? Conversations with an anonymous mom

Dear Anonymous,
Reading your e-mail this morning reminded me of something that happened a long time ago that I had totally forgotten about.
I think Cody was about 8. I was at wits end. I called The California State Child Protective Services hotline.
Here is what the conversation sounded like.

CPS: "Child Protective Services, how can I help you."
Tracy: (crying) "Can you please come and get my son?"
CPS: "OK mame, calm down and tell me what has happened"
Tracy: "Well nothing yet, but I don't know for how much longer"
CPS: "Are you and the child in immediate danger? Do you need the police?"
Tracy: "No. I just can't take it anymore"
CPS: "Can't take what mame?"
Tracy: (Hysterical now) "My son, he's ADHD and he's driving me crazy! I'm afraid I'm going to kill him!"
CPS: (Long pause) "Mame, are you seriously going to kill your son?"
Tracy: "Well.... no, but I can't do this anymore! Can't you please just come get him?"
CPS: (A bit sarcastic) "And just what would you expect us to do with him?"
Tracy: "I don't know, give him to some nice foster family with a mom and a dad that aren't crazy?"
CPS: "I'm sorry but CPS does not do pick ups for mothers who can't handle their children."
Tracy: "Well what DO YOU DO THEN?"
CPS: "We are called out when there is a report of abuse or neglect."
Tracy: "So your telling me I need to abuse him FIRST... THEN call you?"
CPS: "Good bye mame." click

At the time, I was 100% serious!
Looking back on it today, it's pretty damn funny. It is also sad that a mom has to get to that point.
And thank God they didn't come and pick him up. I managed to make it another 24 hours and we survived to fight another day.

You also mentioned that Chad is starting intermediate school. Heres another little tale for you.
When Cody was 12 I registered him in a new school (Jr. High here, 7th and 8th grade combo). I had a job by that time and would drop him at the bus stop every morning on my way to work. In the evening I'd ask if he'd had a good day, did he have homework, the usual. He told me he had been able to keep up and do it at school so he didn't have homework. I was relieved to say the least.

Well about 6 weeks into the school year I got a call from the attendance secretary. She asked me where I had decided to send Cody? I was baffled and asked her what she was talking about. She told me that he had never made it to the school. Not ONCE in 6 weeks, they had just assumed I had enrolled him elsewhere. She said she had called and left messages several times over the weeks.

So I kept my mouth shut and acted like everything was normal. The following morning I took him to the bus stop and drove away. I parked my car around the corner and peered around a fence to see what would happen. As the bus pulled up, he disappeared into the bushes. After it drove off, out he came headed back toward home on foot. I stealthily followed him and watched as he unlocked the door and vanished into the livingroom. I waited a few minutes and then went in. There he was, sprawled out on the sofa, Pepsi and chips in hand watching music videos.

I won't bore you with the explosion, but needless to say he managed to find his way to school from that day forward.

Honestly, surviving an ADHD child is a war zone. The only reprieve is that they have an innate ability to crack you up and melt all your pissed-off-ness in a heartbeat. They are charming, funny and have very tended hearts. It is indeed a challenging tightrope to navigate as a parent.

To kill or not to kill... that is the question


angel said...

to kill or not to kill...
boy do i remember days like that!
luckily i was blessed in that my parents lived right around the corner from me, and even though i hadn't told them he was ADHD (that took me years to do) i would drop him off at their gate after a harried and desperate phone call to my mom. she wouldn't ask and i wouldn't tell, but i got a couple of hours of peace when i did that... at times when i was on the brink of just driving away into the sunset and never coming back.
and i have done that for friends of mine too, when they're climbing the walls in frustration and need a moment to clear their heads!!!
hang in there chad's mom...

Unknown said...

My son is driving me crazy. I cry a lot and wish I wasn't alive. He is aggressive and violent. He causes arguments with my family and frustrates everyone with his abusive language. Help

Tracy Nicolaus Batty said...

I'm sorry you're struggling. I promise you, it's worth hanging on. Even if it's 5 minutes at a time, this will pass and you will survive it. Frustration doesn't kill, it's just temporarily uncomfortable. But the few years you have to raise your child pass mighty quickly and if you raise the child with the most love, tolerance and patience you can muster, the pay off goes on for decades to come. You are not alone.