Today, I get to tell you all about my sweet boy. My Butter. I decided not to use the title "I'm Thankful for my Butter" because I didn't want to scare my weight loss team. I can only imagine how much they'd freak out seeing something like that. HA!
Anyway, today I get to share with you all how super special my son is to me. The boy he is, and what he's already overcome in his life is nothing short of a miracle. I know to be thankful for him each and every day, because like Peanut, he has taught me so much over the years.
I gave birth to Butter a mere eleven months after his sister. And, if you thought I was scared when I had Peanut at eighteen, you can only imagine what I felt giving birth to a second child less than a year later. There I was with two babies at the age of nineteen. Two sets of diapers, two sets of daycare costs, and two sets of different sleeping habits. And, going anywhere was just a ball, having to lug around a baby that was barely walking and a newborn.
But, what I quickly learned was that I could do it. When I thought I had experienced the joy of having a baby and feeling the effects of unconditional love, I severely underestimated how much more those feelings would be ignited inside of me once he was placed in my arms.
He was such a good baby. So sweet, so good. But the minute he was able to walk, he took off running, and became quite the rambunctious handful. He broke his ankle not long after he started walking. Butter never really walked, much. He was a runner. And no matter how many times I told him to stop running or he'd hurt himself, he didn't listen. One morning, he came tearing in to the living room, tripped, and feel with all of his weight on his ankle. So, he spent about six weeks in a cast. Shortly after he had his cast removed, he feel off of a jungle gym at daycare and ended up with three stitches in his head.
His full of energy lifestyle didn't calm down any when he started school, either. Within a few days of starting kindergarten, I received my first note home. His teacher was having a hard time getting him to sit still in his chair. One note turned in to another, and then another. And it wasn't long before I was having my first conference with the principal and his teacher. They wanted me to do something about the fact that he was five years old and didn't like sitting in a chair all day. I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to do, but I tried rewarding him, punishing him, and just trying to negotiate with a five year old. That got me nowhere.
The second half of his kindergarten year, his teacher went on maternity leave. A long-term sub was left in her place, and she had an AWFUL time with Butter. I got notes and emails daily that he was disruptive and just wouldn't stay in his seat. My biggest nightmare occurred when I received a call that Butter was being suspended from school for three days for "terroristic threatening". Come to find out, the sub had left a knife sitting on a desk after she cut up oranges for snack. Butter picked up the knife, and being the rambunctious little thing that he was, decided to tell the kids that he could stab them with the knife. The teacher received no discipline for leaving a knife where a five year old could get it, but Butter was suspended for making threats to his classmates.
First grade was even worse. Another round of constant phone calls, emails, and notes. Then, shortly before Christmas, I received a phone call from his teacher telling me that she thought Butter had stolen her wedding ring off of her desk. He wouldn't confess to her, but he had been the only one to be near her desk when it went missing, and his "track record" of not being honest had caught up with him. I sat interrogating him for over an hour before he finally confessed, with a tear-stained face. He told me he'd taken the ring and then thrown it away because he didn't know what to do with it. I did the unthinkable that year, and took his Christmas away from him. He received no presents that year. My way of teaching him that stealing would definitely NOT be tolerated. That was the worst Christmas of my life. I can't even explain to you how hard it was to enjoy my favorite holiday knowing my son wasn't involved. I cried every night over the holiday because of it.
Two days after the kids went back to school, the same teacher called me telling me that she had been mistaken about Butter stealing her ring. It had been at home the whole time. I had taken his Christmas away, put him through Hell, for nothing. And all I got was a measly "Sorry about the mix-up".
That was the ultimate beginning of the rough road Butter would take after that. He no longer wanted anything to do with school or teachers, and made sure they knew it. By the time he was in 3rd grade, he had been diagnosed with ADHD, and I was "asked" to have him placed in a special school for "kids like him". It was also "suggested" that he be placed on medication.
For the next year, I basically lost my son. He would go through extreme fits of rage and anger. He would call me horrible names. He would run away from home, telling me he hated me and never wanted to come back. Then, his doctor would up his medicine, hoping that would help. It didn't. In fact, it just made matters worse. More medication led to more violent outrages. He would smash his toys, threaten me, and became completely uncontrollable. He never showed any remorse, any emotion other than anger. I went through several months of that before I decided enough was enough. I drove him to a inpatient facility and begged for their help. I just didn't know what else to do. The doctors he'd been seeing just kept upping the medicine, which kept making matters worse, and I was quickly losing my son.
At the beginning of 4th grade, Butter was admitted in to the hospital for 72 hour observation. They took him off of all of his medication, and waited to see the monster emerge. But, you know what happened? Just 24 hours after being in the hospital, he started crying. And he cried, and cried, and cried some more. Something he hadn't done since 2nd grade! That caused the doctor to become extremely curious with what had been causing his issues, and started running some tests. Come to find out, Butter had been having a form of allergic reaction to the concoction of medications he'd been on. The emotions in his brain had become over stimulated and was causing the rages. The more the medication was upped, the worse the rage became. So, basically, the doctors and I had been doing it to him.
Talk about feeling like the worst mother in the entire world.
Butter spent several months in the hospital, learning how to cope with his situation and undoing all of the damage that had been done to his brain by the medication. They were the hardest months of my life. But, the boy that came out of that hospital was my son, the sweet boy I knew, and I was so happy to have him back.
After getting out of the hospital, Butter went back to public school. He completed the year, but there was some stigma attached to his previous issues. Then, his sixth grade year, I got my job where I am now. I chose not to tell anyone but my principal about Butter's issues, and that year was an AMAZING year for him. He got the best teacher a boy in his situation could ask for, and that teacher helped restore Butter's faith in school. I owe that teacher more than he'll ever know. Butter enjoyed school, once again, thanks to Mr. C.
Now, my handsome young man is in 8th grade. He is no longer the round little butter-ball that was my son a few years ago. He has shot up past me in height, has lost all of his "extra" weight, and is completely involved with anything sport related. He loves football, track, and baseball. This year, he's also trying out wrestling. He craves acceptance, and loves being a part of a team.
Butter still has his little bouts of trouble, now and then. But compared to what it was a few years ago is something I can most definitely handle. His diagnosis of ADHD was and is very real, it was just the wrong medication concoction that he was given. He is now completely off all medications and copes to the best of his ability. It's still hard for him to control his impulsive behavior, at times, which ends up getting him in to some trouble. But, one thing Butter now does is accept his consequences.
He has so much respect for the teachers and the administration at our school. He loves them, actually. Because they treat him like a "regular kid". If he acts up, he gets in trouble, and then it's over. He gets to move on. I'm not called daily, his trouble doesn't follow him from class to class. He's coping, and enjoying school. And that's all I can ask for.
Over the years, Butter has taught me so much. To this day, I give him credit for the type of teacher that I am. I hone in on the kids that are having some trouble and look for ways that I can help. I never judge kids based on their past. I never give up. Ever. And he's who I have to thank for that attitude.
In my son's short 13 years on this planet, he's been through more than many adults. Yet, he still has a smile on his face every day. He is happy. He's overcome all of the struggles thrown his way and came out on top. And, I know that he will continue to thrive and overcome all the struggles that try to get in his way. He's a fighter, and he taught me the real meaning of unconditional love.
I am so proud of my son. Proud that he is my son. Proud that I get to be his Momma. I love him with all of my heart, and thank God for him each and every day.
So, today, I am definitely thankful for my Butter. For the rambunctious baby he was, the troubled kid, and the handsome, loving, sweet, amazing young man he has turned in to.
Have a great Monday, everyone!