There is a distinct difference between Natalie ON ADHD medication and Natalie OFF ADHD medication.
by Kay Marner
TGIF? Not this time!
Friday afternoon, I picked Natalie up from daycare around 4:30. Whew! She was wild! Grabbing everything within her field of vision; not hearing a single redirect.
Her friend Japanna stopped over to play right about the time we got home, and within minutes, he was gawking at Nat and me, as I half-drug her flailing body to her room for a time out. “If you calm down and handle your room time, Japanna can stay. If not, I’ll send Japanna home!” I was embarrassed for Nat. Who’d want to play with a kid who acts like that?
Was this just a really bad transition time, I wondered? The time between daycare and supper is often tough. Or, was Nat super hungry? Or… did she miss her 4:00 pm dose of Ritalin? Natalie couldn’t remember.
Phone call to daycare. Would they please check the med chart and see if it was documented that Nat received her 4:00 meds? They can’t find the Room 6 med chart, and the Room 6 teachers are both gone for the day. They’ll call Allie, the lead teacher, at home, and find out where the chart is and then call me back.
Allie calls back herself, all apologies, but no answers. “I’ve seen Natalie with medication, and without medication, and there’s a distinct difference,” Allie commiserates. (See why we love and trust Allie?) Tell me about it, I think. I’m living it! But I couldn’t bring myself to give Natalie Ritalin until I found out for sure that she’d missed it. What if she’d already had it?
It’s 6:30 when Allie calls again to verify that yes; the teacher on duty forgot to give Nat her Ritalin. She’s very sorry. So am I! I just endured two LONG hours on high alert. Two hours of Japanna wondering why Natalie seems so different today. Two hours of Japanna hearing me say things like, “You have to really think, Nat. You have to work your hardest to slow down and make good choices.”
“Nat will be herself again in 20 minutes or so, Japanna,” I say, as Nat swallows her meds. “She can’t really help it that she’s been getting in trouble tonight. Thanks for putting up with us; for being a good friend,” I say. (Matter of fact. Up front. It’s not a secret; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I hope this is the best approach!) Sure enough, Nat calms down and the rest of her evening is great.
I’m not upset with daycare. It’s easy to make mistakes. I forget to give Nat her meds now and then, too, until her behavior reminds me. “What the heck is going on? Oh, it’s past med time!”
I don’t know what Japanna thought about the whole experience — my constant verbal prompts, my frantic phone calls, Nat’s wildness. Maybe it all went right over his head. Maybe it didn’t effect how he sees Nat. I hope that’s the case.
TGIF? Not for me! For me, Friday night was a long ending to a long week. I was thinking TGFR, instead. Thank God for Ritalin!