Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More questions for Jill

Sandi has asked these questions....

I too have a child like this! my questions are

1- what age did you know something was not quite right?
JILL: I would say I knew at the age of 3. Up the age of 3 Alexa was so well behaved when we took her places and we did take her everywhere. After age 3 I noticed the trouble starting.

2- What meds, if any have you tried?
JILL: Because she does have Epilepsy we have had to be careful in trying to many drugs. Our first medication was Focalin and then we switched to Focalin XR. The medicine worked wonderful for a while but it was upsetting her tummy so bad. After about a year of taking Focalin it completely stopped working the way it should. We are now using a patch called Daytrana and so far it is great. The only side effect is the let down after 8 hours of medication that is released. She is also on Clonadine for bed time to help her sleep a full night.
3- Have the meds helped, or do you think therapy has worked better?
Jill: We see a doctor not a therapist. We mostly work with her at home with the doctors guidance. Medication has been our savior. Alexa can not function with out it. I have always been 100% against medication until I saw how badly Alexa was suffering.

Does the school work closely with you on behavior issues?
JILL: After a rough ride in kindergarten the school is finally on top of things. They finally gave her the state testing she needed and she is receiving therapy in school for her learning disabilities. The school basically made her kindergarten year a big waste. They were observing the problem instead of taking action. I had to fight for her to get the help she needed. Alexa has disabilities in academics and was behind about 2 years. Now with the help she is getting she is close to her target.
Have you had to modify how she eats in any way?
Jill: Absolutely no red dye. Children with ADHD should not have any red dye in their diet. This includes all orange dyes as well. Also we stay away from sugar. She has an immediate reaction to sugar. Thankfully she can live without it because she doesn't have a sweet tooth.

I have also been asked some question by my friend Ginger.
My question is How do you cope when you are having a bad day and Alexa comes home from school having a melt down or her meds are wearing off? How do you hold it together?

Jill: The truth is, it's really hard. For one, when we see the signs that she is overly stressed we try not to let anything trigger the melt down. We sometimes will actually just leave her to herself and try to avoid too many conversations with her. We don't let her get her way with everything but we go out of our way to keep things calm. These melt downs are not like a normal temper tantrum they are horrible. No one in my family has ever seen her go through one and I wouldn't want them to see her like this.
We don't always hold ourselves together so well. This has been harder to deal with than actual medical problems with my both girls at times. On a good day when this happens my husband and I stay totally calm, on a bad day one of us breaks down along with her. These melt downs are very few and far between lately. THANK GOD!
Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...
As she gets older, if you haven't already started, do you work with her on calming techniques?Do you believe i
n rewards for good behavior?Are you seeing any of those symptoms in Gianna?
Jill: I don't use calming techniques yet, I just try and calm her entire surrounding down. I most definitely believe in rewards for good behavior and I have always probably done more than I should to reward her. So far I have not seen any of these signs in Gianna. Gianna has a bit of Autism that is associated with her syndrome. We are currently working with Gianna to help her.
Christy said...
How does this affect the relationships between the two girls?Do the doctors think Alexa will have to be on medication for this for life?Thanks for answering!

Jill: It is very hard when Alexa is in her moods for her to get along with her baby sister. She loses patience quickly when she is moody. Alexa on a good day is the very best big sister a kid could as for. She is very caring and nurturing to Gianna.
The doctors do believe that this is something she will NOT out grow and will have to stay on medication possibly even as an adult.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Living With A Child With ADHD/ODD

First of All I want to start out by thanking Simone for having me here as a guest blogger. What you are doing is wonderful and will help create awareness on many different subjects.

My name is Jill from Jill's Believe It Or Not. I am a stay at home mom and wouldn't change that for anything. I have two beautiful girls, Gianna who is 3, and Alexa who is 7. Both of my children have medical problems and life hasn't always been easy but it has taught me so much. We are a stronger, more loving family because of it.

Alexa has Epilepsy and in the last two years has been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD disorders. There are so many children out there that have these disorders and are living undiagnosed. Having the diagnosis for her has changed her life so much in a positive way. Before she was diagnosed things were tough on all of us. I am hoping that through this interview I can touch someone's life and answer any questions you may have.

What was the journey like as your little one diagnosed? Before she was diagnosed we were unable to control Alexa's behaviors. She was acting out in school, not getting along with others, not being able to stay on any task, and not comprehending. Alexa wasn't able to sleep at night, she would twist and turn and wake up exhausted in the morning. I had to push and fight for her to find the right pediatrician and Psychiatrist
to correctly diagnose and treat her.

Did you feel disbelief in the diagnosis? I actually am the one who knew from the beginning that something just wasn't right with her. You could see in her eyes that she wanted to behave, to listen , to learn but there was something holding her back. Doctors tried to blame it on medication, the terrible twos and the Epilepsy but I refused to accept that. Although medication has and can effect ADHD I knew that it was not the main cause for it.

Have you had to adapt or do anything differently than you’d normally do? In the beginning I would say I tended to avoid certain family gatherings and other social events because I was afraid of her behavior. I have learned that unless someone deals with this themselves they find it very easy to label your child.

What symptoms do you struggle with the most? I struggle the most with the constant mood swings. Too much stimulation from a day of school or a long day on the weekend can put her into an uncontrollable rage of anger. The medication she is on works all day but right about the time she gets home from school it begins to wear off . Her body has what they call a let down period and is adjusting to not having the medication. During this time sometimes another medication has to be given to her to make the transition easier. It is very hard to see such a young child battle with depression and anger. I would say that is the hardest thing about this disorder.
I am really looking forward to answering more questions. I am a very open person and I am up for any questions!
Thank you again Simone!

Questions for Jill

If you have any questions you'd like to ask, please add them to the comments. Jill will be answering any questions as they come.

For now, I have a few to get things going....

What was the journey like as your little one diagnosed?

Did you feel disbelief in the diagnosis?

Have you had to adapt or do anything differently than you’d normally do?

What symptoms do you struggle with the most?

A Mom of a child with A.D.D and O.D.D.

This begins the week of interview and questions and answers from Jill that has graciously agreed to be the guest blogger. I hope that there will be plenty of questions for her to answer but in the meantime, I will also have interview questions as well.

On that note, if you have a topic or a person that you'd like to recommend for the blog, please drop me an email.

With that....Jill...please introduce yourself and hang on to your seat for the questions!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My final answers! (unless you have more to ask) By Sandi

My apologies that this post is so long. And probably very boring to those that didn’t ask the questions.

Brandon and I were both raised LDS. We both share the same beliefs that we were brought up with, but that doesn’t mean we apply the teachings to our daily lives. Brandon got kicked out of the church because of our actions. (Having sex with someone you are not legally married to.) I got disfellowshipped. It’s a step down from excommunication. I was not as active and didn’t hold the priesthood, and that is why Brandon was held to higher standard than I was.

The church is a HUGE deal in our marriage and probably the biggest issue we deal with. It’s like the elephant in the front room that nobody mentions. We just throw a rug over it and pretend it doesn’t exist. Brandon has a great desire to live the Gospel. He wants to be re-baptized into the church and be an active member. I have no desire. I feel like I am happier without the stress of trying to be somebody I am not. I can’t deal with the guilt that gets shoved in my face every week. I am not happy about Prop 8. I do not like being LDS and divorced. It feels like the ultimate failure.

In most healthy relationships one spouse would say to the other, “Go ahead and do what you want. Attend the church you want to attend, be who you are.” BUT, we don’t roll like that, because we aren’t a healthy functioning unit. This is where the trust issues come into play. I don’t trust Brandon to attend church for three hours every Sunday and all the weekly activities without me. It’s not like I think he is going to go skirt chasing in Sunday school. But I know how he works. He will feel like he should be with somebody that shares his desires for the eternal family. He will want the cute little molly-mormon girl that he used to have. Brandon was only unhappy in his first marriage because he never got sex. Like never, as in, maybe, once a month. MAYBE! I promise there are plenty of cute little Mormon girls that like sex. So, I am insecure in our marriage because of the issues that surrounded our meeting and falling in love. This is most likely not making sense to those that aren’t LDS. But anyway, I am doing my best to explain.

Yes, we were both still married to our previous spouses when we met and fell and love, but we were both separated and divorcing. The court hadn’t finalized the divorces. It wasn’t like we stole each other from our happy homes. Both of our homes were broken already. I had walked out on my previous spouse and had an affair with my ex boyfriend from high school. It was a 6-month emotional affair, and a one weekend physical affair. I came home on April 1st from that weekend and asked for a divorce. I wasn’t happy with my marriage and I wasn’t deserving of a faithful husband. I do wish at times that I were the type of person that could have never told and went on with my life. I know so many people that can do that. How come I can’t? I think a bad thought and I feel it necessary to tell Brandon and everyone for that matter. I am constantly purging.

Brandon exited his marriage opposite of me. He slowly wandered, drifting away quietly. He isn’t the explosion that I am. He is steady and thoughtful. The problem with the way he exited is that he was living with one foot in and one foot out. He justified sex with others, because he was separated, but would come home on weekends, and wear his ring, and go to church with the family. I am not sure which is the better way to exit, but we are now both fearful that we will do the same to each other. He is sure I am going to fall in love with someone and run off and sleep with him or her and announce it when I come home. I am convinced he is going to slowly drift away, until one day he just doesn’t love me anymore. That is the way he said it happened before. The trust issues are huge, but we do not know how to change it.

Family occasions with the exes….. No, it doesn’t happen. If you read my blog, you will know I still have issues. I try to limit the amount of conversation and emails to the ex. I am nostalgic. It makes not looking back difficult. When he came to California for Christmas to spend some time with the kids, I flew off to Maui. I didn’t feel like I could even be in the same state as he was. I don’t hate him. I am not mad at him. I just don’t want to feel anything for him. I wish he were just a neighbor I could wave at. But after a fifteen-year marriage, with ups and downs, and a dozen kids, it’s a lot to let go of. I haven’t figured out how to do it.

Brandon claims he doesn’t feel anything for his ex. How is that possible? I am not sure if I believe him. I know the things I deal with, so I automatically put those feelings on him as well. I can hardly get through the weekends that his kids are here, because I make up feelings that I think he should be having and put them on him. Therefore, he is in trouble for feeling the way I think he should feel, when in fact, he doesn’t feel that way at all. Any of you interested in being married to me?

Did that answer the question about socializing with the exes? We don’t do it.

How do we agree when we both want things done our own way, or the old way?

We don’t have too many issues with this. Unless it is something that irritates me and then Brandon just surrenders. He doesn’t give me a reason to be more emotional than I already am. Stupid things like handy man stuff, I have to walk away from the scene. My ex worked construction, so he knew how to do everything. Brandon worked in an office in a suit, so when I see him trying to fix something, I walk away. In the beginning it bothered me, but now I let it go. He fixes the broken stuff. It doesn’t matter how it gets done, just that he gets it done.

Other minor things like wearing a pair of pants more than once without washing them, or not making a vegetable with dinner, reading on the toilet…all those little annoyances, are just that, annoying, but they are not worth an argument. Well, the reading on the toilet was, but he stopped.

Did the older kids adjust? Yes, it only took about six months. The kids loved Brandon right away. He is a great guy. I think it is just hard to think about your parents being with somebody else. My parents are divorced and I still have a hard time with it.

Why didn’t I let the church excommunicate me? “I should have.” is the correct answer. BUT at the time, I think it would have been a big slap in the face to Brandon. We knew we wanted to be together, both of our divorces were finalized, we were living together and acting like a married couple. So I couldn’t have been working on putting my old marriage back together without breaking up with Brandon. I didn’t want to hurt the kids by doing that. They had just adjusted to him. I loved him and wanted to be with him, I just wish we wouldn’t have done it so fast. But, I also don’t know if it would have worked any other way. So when the Bishop said get married or get excommunicated, I said, “Okay, we will drive to Vegas this weekend.” And that’s how it happened.

We really are happy. We are each other’s “number one.” Even in the chaos of 14 kids, 4 step kids, two dogs, a few exes and the drama that follows me. WE ARE HAPPY! I found love when I found Brandon. I have been blessed. We have been together almost 4 years and they have been the best years of my life.

How do we keep the love alive with so much on our plates?
I think I really answered that one above. I think the true secret is putting Brandon first. Even before the kids. We go out at least once a week alone, we make date night a priority. We have regular sex trips that allow us a night away to swing from the chandeliers if we want to. We talk constantly. Not just about the kids. We have “emotional yip-yap” often. We have sex regularly. I think that is a HUGE thing in a marriage. We go for walks a few times a week just the two of us.

Brandon is amazing. He tells me everyday how beautiful I am. He kisses me hello and goodbye even if he is just driving down the street to get a kid or two. He listens to me. He is there for me. He makes sure I eat three meals a day and that my diet coke is cold at all times. He does the heavy lifting and unclogs the toilets. He is my dream come true!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Questions for Sandi

You mentioned almost being excommunicated from the Mormon church. Are you both spiritually in tune with one another's beliefs?

How do you agree when you're both wanting something done your way or the "old way"?
For instance, Boo believes that the dishwasher should be used for drying clean dishes....obviously, I don't. How do you agree to disagree without major arguments?

When there's a family get together of any sort, do the ex's join in with your family or do they celebrate the occasion on their own?

What are you both doing differently that you didn't do in your previous marriages?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More answers FROM Sandi

Let me tell you about the sex the second time around. It took awhile to get into the groove and let go of the past memories and habits. But when I did, the second time around is so much better.

If it hadn’t been better, I honestly don’t know if it would have worked. I LOVE sex…It plays a pretty important role in my marriage. Brandon is by far a better lover than my Ex, but not bigger than my Ex. I was worried in the beginning and stressed out about it a lot. But when he made me cum the first time, I let go of the stupid shit, like SIZE. My ex never once made me cum in our entire fifteen-year marriage. I was in charge of my orgasms, I took care of myself without him. The Ex thought the sex was fabulous, I knew it was lacking.

With Brandon, I can’t get enough of him. It is amazing. Because we spend our time together and talk and talk all day, I feel totally connected to him. He is my best friend. That makes for an amazing sex life. I am blessed!

How do we blend the new family with the old, like the extend family. There is NO blending. You could shove them all in a blender and hit puree and it just isn’t going to happen. My family is coming around, VERY slowly. My dad has been great from the get-go. My mom and siblings, not so much.

Brandon’s family…..Oh Lord, they think I am a wicked woman that stole their son, brother and loved one right out of their hands. I batted my eyes and flashed my new boobs and he up and left the church, the family, his wife and kids…..You know, they seriously think it happened like that. They don’t know me so I don’t know how they can form an opinion about me, but they don’t seem to care for me.

Here is the answer to the last four questions. Did we have a big wedding, did we invite the exes, what is the hardest thing, and why in the HELL did I do it again.

Brandon and I ran off to Vegas to get married. We certainly didn’t invite the exes, we just took Pickle. We got married when we did, because honestly, I felt pushed by our church leaders. Because Brandon and I were living together, and that is against the Mormon Church policy, they told me to get married or get kicked out of the church. It was my choice. I chose marriage. Looking back now, I should have taken the excommunication over the hasty marriage. I had unfinished business and grieving to do and I should have done it alone and privately. Instead Brandon got to watch me mourn the loss of my ex, my nuclear family and my old life. BUT, as painful as it was, it has brought us closer together and I am so grateful for the support he gave me. There may always be the question that will never be answered though, and that is, if I wouldn’t have rushed into the second marriage, could I have repaired the first one? It’s a shitty thing to think about because I LOVE Brandon with all my heart. However, there are days when the dreaded step kids are coming, when I am dealing with child-support drama, both paying and receiving, hating my exes wife and new baby, that I think, “WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING!” I should have NEVER walked out on my first marriage. You trade one package of problems for another. That is the hardest thing!

Ask Sandi

What do you do when the second time around isn't as good as the first (sexual wise?

How do you blend in the new family members with the old, for instance, in laws, cousins, grandparents, etc?

Did you have a big wedding?

Did you invite your ex?

What is the biggest challenge of being remarried?

Aside from the fact that you loved one another, what was it that made you know for certain you were ready to take the chance at marriage again?

Monday, February 9, 2009

On remarriage.... by Sandi

Let me start off by saying that I certainly don’t feel qualified to be answering these questions.  But if you know me, you know I will tell it like it is, the good the bad and the ugly.  So here goes.


“How long were you divorced before you got remarried?

Okay, are you all sitting down?  I got separated on April 1, 2005.   I met Brandon on May 24, 2005.  My divorce was final on August 18, 2005.  I married Brandon on September 17, 2005.  Wow, I still can’t believe I lived through that.   Let me say this, I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING IT THIS WAY!  

“Was it hard on the kids?”

Hell yes!  But their little heads were still spinning from the divorce.  They never had a chance to adjust to being without a man in the house, because Brandon moved in and filled the spot.  They all love him, but it took some adjusting for the big kids.  The little ones were so young that they don’t even remember life without him.  That is a blessing.

“Did you ever feel fear that you would end up divorced again?”

Oh my gosh, YES! I think that is the biggest fear you have in a second marriage.  You know how easy, legally, it is to dissolve a marriage.  It’s hard as hell emotionally, but so is being married.  And there are definitely days that I feared I would just dump the baggage of the marriage and get divorced again.  In a second marriage you have to deal with your own baggage from the previous marriage, and his baggage from his previous marriage, and new in-laws, and step kids, and the exes on top of it all.  AHHHH!  It is NOT easy! 

“What is different this time around from the first time around?”

Everything!  A different person changes everything.  I, too, am different than I was in my first marriage.  The first time, it seems, you are so young and naive and never think this marriage isn’t going to last forever.  You take the union and the person for granted so often and so easily.  The second time is so different because you know how easy it is to walk away, so you are cautious and careful and appreciate the things, both little, and big, that the other does for you.  You are here by choice, not happen stance, and you are here because, even though you have both been burned before, you both have enough faith in each other, and the relationship, to take the chance again.   That makes it VERY different. 

“How many times did you call new hubby by old hubby’s name?  Was it in a fit of rage, passion, or just in passing?”

This is my worst nightmare.  I have done it and it sucks.  I have also been called “Becky” and you all know that isn’t my name.  Thank God it never happened in bed or in any expression of love.  And it only happened very early in our relationship.  I have called Brandon my Ex’s name in rage and annoyance.  The few fights we had in the beginning usually escalated after I screamed the wrong name at him.  I always thought he should be grateful that the old name flies off my tongue so easily in a fit of rage.  He didn’t seem to care how it flew off my tongue, only that it did. 

If you have any other questions please ask.  I am happy to answer! 

Thanks for the opportunity to further subject myself to scrutiny and ridicule! :)

Sandi Benson




Sunday, February 8, 2009

On Being....Remarried (Guest Blogger - Sandi)

I'd like to introduce the very first "brave" guest blogger who will have a chance to answer any and all questions you may ask regarding remarriage. I know that I have many myself, being engaged and all.

I appreciate you doing this Sandi!

Please introduce yourself and give us a peek into your life as a remarried woman...the how's and whys and all of that.

Thank you!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is where it begins

After posting on my other blog what it means to be a Black woman in America, I discovered that there were were many curious questions on what it was like being Mormon, Asian, a teacher, abused, divorced, remarried, an adoptive parent.

It takes one spark to get a fire going and from that one spark, the flame has grown. This is a blog devoted to enlightening and inspiring those that are curious, interested, intrigued, wondering.

I will begin by saying that there are no stupid questions, only those questions that have always existed and waiting for someone to ask.

The topics will be varied throughout each week. I will have guest bloggers who will answer the questions and are willing to be candid and interesting as well as real.

It is my hope that this will become a blog where many people will come to find answers, without the fear of asking.