Friday, March 7, 2014

Keeping Sofie, Keeping sane. The Plan:

A major way of dealing with my anxiety is planning.   My entire study schedule is mapped out for the year with each day having a different subject and quantity of work I need to get through.  Holidays are blocked out (the 1st year I made the mistake of scheduling studying in during school holidays and it just doesn’t work)  My files are labelled and shelved and my books on labelled sections of my shelf.

The kid’s schedules of extra murals are written up for each day.  The sports bags are immediately repacked and hung up on hooks in the garage.  I have everything written in my diary and reply slips and money are sent back the next day.  Fetching them stresses me out every single day as they all finish the same time at different locations.  I am longing for Daniel’s car more than he is!

Now that I have a Tri coach my training schedule is carefully worked out.  I have only ever missed one day and I hated missing it.  Made me irritable and anxious.  I like to see what I have to do each day and even when I run, I take a little piece of paper with to complete the set.   Control=calm.

I never run out of loo paper, cleaning materials, bread or milk.  If I can avoid situations that cause me stress then I do.   When I blogged often in the past and it was about something controversial I used to get very anxious when people got nasty in the comments.  Now my life is too crazy to debate over random topics that cause all sorts of trolls to come out and vomit up their malice.  I have also learned that mean people are usually hurt and insecure.  They break down others because they themselves are broken.  It makes me softer in my response and I take it less personally.

The problem with my life at the moment is I have too much going on and nothing can give right now.   I am consciously controlling my anxiety every day but my Dystonia is very bad and my mouth extremely sore so I guess much if it is physiological and beyond my control.  Next week is PMS week and then the wheels normally come off.  I have xanor for emergency and plan on taking it for 3 days to get me through those hairy days.

I sound a bit OCD but I am really not.  It’s my stress management techniques I employ so I can lessen the anxiety.   The school situation with my Sofie almost sent me over the edge.  I take this mama thing very seriously and I am well aware of the potential we have as parents to make or break our kids.  Studying psychology doesn’t help as most of the sh*t adults deal with seem to stem from childhood issues.   Anyway the Sofie plan is as follows:

No Waldorf school for now.   After the 1st visit I thought what an amazing place for her.  Then I started researching and like anything alternative, opinions are either very pro or very anti.  My biggest concern was integration back into main stream school if I sent her to a regular high school which is the present plan.  If she did stay how would she cope at varsity?   Some said fine, some said they were way behind.  A friends sister had to be home schooled for a year just to catch up.  Each child is an individual so it’s hard to say.  Apparently the discipline is not strong but she is a well behaved child so that wasn’t an issue.   Lack of sport also not an issue as she has club swimming, riding and rhythmic gymnastics each week.  But anyway, Waldorf shelved for now.

Coping mechanisms at her present school:  I have employed a tutor once a week who is highly trained and teaches at another school.   She will help her once a week for now and every day during exam time.   She is over qualified so doing me a favour actually and Sofie loves her so it’s a win-win.   Then every day Rebeka meets her sister at her class to help pack her bag with all the books she needs.   Old clothes come home, sports bags, lunch boxes and most importantly the correct books.  Rebeka gets paid R20 a week and Mom keeps her sanity.  I know I am not empowering Sofie but when she is a little older and less overwhelmed she will learn to do this all herself.  Sanity 1st!    I have kept her on the 10mg Ritalin for now and quite honestly don’t know if it’s making any difference.  If she continues to cope how she is coping I will either keep it at 10 or take her off to see if there is a difference.  I will not change 20mg unless I absolutely have to. 

I am also looking at ADD and ADHD kids in a whole new light.   The amount of Loebenberg kids who have ADD and ADHD is crazy.  I have decided it’s not a disability.  It’s simply an inability to cope with the rigidity of the mainstream school system.  We have smart well balanced kids who are simply too clever or creative to do arb and boring mundane tasks in their grey socks and grey trousers.  These are curious creative people who when they find something interesting, can hyperfocus.  It is why so many entrepreneurs are ADHD  and very successful.  They are leaders who think out the box, who are prepared to take risks.  I am excited to see who they all grow up to be one day.  As we driving to gym today Sofie asks me: If a mother who only has one child loses that child because her child died, is she still a mother?  What a very sad question but a rather deep one for a little person of 9.  Yes my Sofie, she will always be a mother.    I will always be a mother, I will always worry about my kids and I will always do my absolute best for my 3 people who I am so blessed to have given birth to.  Like I said, super fierce and extremely vulnerable all at the same time, that’s just how we mothers roll.


  1. I love this post. It is so real and it's great to see your plan includes others too - if more of us helped each other when it was needed, the world would be a better place. Sofie will get to be more independent & organised as she gets older and, God willing, you will look at this post in the not to distant future and say, "what was I worrying about?".

  2. My oldest (15) was kind of diagnosed with ADD but we chose not to medicate him. I worry constantly if we made the right decision. We moved him to a school with smaller classes and it has still been a battle. It is his 3rd year there and we are only now getting the teachers on the same page as us regarding his abilities.
    Then there is my 4yr old who I think is heading in the ADHD direction. He is very different to other kids and also very rebellious. We have been thinking about putting him into a Montessori school but have the same concerns as you re going to high school. Might just put him into the same school as his brother. It's tough being a parent!

  3. Hi, please take a look at
    I took my daughter to ADD Lab Jhb and they diagnosed her from a 2 hour brain function test and gave a 40 page report. Sometimes symptoms look like ADD but they could be something else. My daughter has anxiety disorder and sleep disorder, but not ADD. If I had to put her on meds she would become very depressed they said.