Typical Toddler or Worrisome Symptom?

by Ginger on October 14, 2010

in Mom Thoughts, Oh Baby!

I had another post all ready to go, but something’s been bugging me that I feel like I need to write about. The more I think about it, the more it bothers me, so I have to get it off my chest.

I’ve shared here, on multiple occasions, how Jackson is an active kid. He is, he’s into everything. He’s curious. He’s a climber. He’s on.the.go. from the minute he gets up until the minute he goes to sleep. Until recently, it was rare that he’d stop and sit for anything (not even tv) for longer than one, maybe two, books. He’s also single minded. When he locks eyes on something he wants or wants to do, it takes significant effort to deter him from that thing.

So, you know, he’s a toddler. And a boy. And (to my dismay) very much his father’s child.

But apparently, some people in my family are worried about him. They’re afraid that he might have ADHD. That he might need Ritalin.

Um. What in the HELL?

Look, I don’t talk a lot about my extended family on my blog for a lot of reasons: I’m a peace keeper, I don’t want to start anything about family drama on this blog, I just don’t think it’s worth the stories, and OH there are stories.

But this is really bothering me. That, even in a joking manner (which it wasn’t), someone would say that my ONE YEAR OLD needs Ritalin? Beyond the fact that one is too early to even begin THINKING about this particular diagnosis and medication, there’s the fact that these opinions are based on 3 day visits, 2 minute videos, and anecdotes told over the phone about a mischievous little boy.

For the most part, I don’t get my hackles up about what people in either of our families think about our parenting decisions. I know there are people who think it’s odd that I’m still nursing, or that we cloth diaper, or that we don’t let Jackson have juice very often. I know that there were probably discussions about our decision on circumcision and the way we handled Jackson’s jaundice when he was born. And none of it has bothered me–in fact, until now, I’ve brushed everything off with a sincere laugh. Because it’s our decision, our kid, and we think we’re making the right decisions.

But for some reason, this really bugs me. Maybe it’s because I feel like they’re judging Jackson, not me or N.C. or our parenting. I mean, my kid isn’t perfect (trust me, I know), but it feels kind of like they’re saying he’s not right or normal. Like he’s being bad or misbehaving. And I KNOW that isn’t the case, I KNOW he’s being a pretty damn normal kid, but maybe it’s just the mama bear in me coming out and getting upset that someone is saying, implying, that something’s wrong with him.

Look, someday we may end up with a kid who does have ADHD. And if/when that time comes, fine, we’ll deal with it then. But dear god he’s freaking ONE. Don’t start labeling him already, don’t start diagnosing him already. He’s ONE.

And you’re just pissing me off.

Fearless Formula Feeder October 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Do you need me to come kick some ass for you? Because I will. Massively pregnant or not.

I completely understand what you’re saying about people judging your parenting vs judging your CHILD. Or labeling him. First of all, they are being ridiculous – as you said, he’s an energetic toddler and a boy. Sounds like half the toddlers I know.

But regardless, it’s your kid, and it’s that momma-lion instinct that kicks in when someone is looking at him unfairly. When FC was about 4-6 months, he went through a chubby stage. Like, total buddha baby. For a kid who started out in the 3rd % for weight, this was actually kind of a relief. But there was this girl in my mommy circle who always went on and on about how chubby he was, and it KILLED me. I didn’t like that she was labeling him, especially as she kept saying it even when he slimmed back down to the 50th% around 6months. It was like she’d decided he was the “fat kid”. Now, this woman is pretty much just a nutcase, so I should’ve taken her with a grain of salt, but for some reason it irked me – if she’d blamed me for it, said I was overfeeding him or something, I wouldn’t have been so bothered. But I didn’t like that she was directing it towards him, you know?

Anyway – I would express this to your family, if you can. Just tell them they are being unfair to your son by slapping that kind of label on him, even if it’s just a joke. If they don’t respect that, I will seriously come slap some sense into them.

bekah October 14, 2010 at 12:54 pm

You just describe a typical day for Jack as well…they are little boys! They are exploring their world!

Im sorry people have said that to you, thats crazy. Id be pretty lit up about it too!

Lisa October 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm

He sounds like my brother. Who eventually would sit down for TV just for a bi;, I think Mister Rogers was the only thing I think he would sit down and watch. I do think that when he got a little older people suggested that he be put on medication, but my mom was against it, and he was fine. Bright, good grades, minimal trouble in school.

I know there are some kids that are really struggling without medication for ADHD, but I also wonder when we became a society that finds being energetic abnormal somehow.

Not Like Normal People October 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Are you freaking kidding me? He is one. ONE! His entire life has been spent in anticipation of learning to move independently and now he can RUN. Of course he is constantly moving. (Bet he sleeps better than many kids who spend the day passive.)

I am trying to come up with a polite comeback to offer you so you have something to say but words fail me here. I just want to smack them with a wet noodle and yell HE IS ONE ONE ONE!! – and they aren’t even my relatives.

Cheryl October 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm

I agree with Lisa, have we become so sedentary that an energetic child isn’t normal? I’d be just as frustrated as you are and I think it’s only natural that this gets your momma bear back up. No one should be judging your child at one, family or not. Often, family members feel they can get away with saying things others couldn’t. That may be true sometimes but the other side of it is, things hurt more when they come from family. If a complete stranger said this, you’d think it was crazy, right? (Like I did when a clerk at a sandwich place said I had a picky eater when I ordered chicken and veggies, no bread. Um, okay …)
From all accounts, he’s a normal, active, happy boy. Of course he’s into everything, of course he climbs, of course he’s curious. How else is he going to figure out how the world works?
I’m with FFF too, if you express to them that it’s unfair to label a toddler and they don’t get it, you can set two pregnant ladies on ’em!

shasta October 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Didn’t y’all get the memo? Apparently the cool new thing to do is to make disparaging comments about other people’s children. It’s especially true for family members.

My parents have been calling Mittens overweight (seriously, their word) since she was 4 months old. She also has “fat legs” and “looks fat all over”. They have yet to see her at her most excited and playful, so I’m sure the ADHD thing is up next.

Sometimes people suck. =(

Alias Mother October 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Now I’m all indignant on your behalf. Have they ever met a toddler? Because I’ve seen some toddlers, and that seems perfectly normal.

I know that reaction. It’s the same reaction I get when someone dismisses the Buddha as “shy” and “unfriendly.” Yeah, well, she is shy. And she can be unfriendly. She’s also TWO. A lot of kids are stand-offish at two. Don’t treat her like a freak show, please.

clara October 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm

It always hurts my feelings when someone tries to label one of my kids. I just would like them to be able to grow up and figure out who they are for themselves, without that big chain and sign around the neck.

Your 1 year old sounds like every 1 year old I’ve ever met.

I’m sorry it’s family that’s doing this to you (instead of the random grocery store cashiers I get it from). That makes it so much harder for you.

clara October 14, 2010 at 2:10 pm

PS: and a hearty EFF YOU, CLOWNS to the people calling other peoples’ toddlers “too fat.” Jesus that makes me mad.

Perpetua October 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Agreed with everyone above. Trying to diagnose a ONE YEAR OLD is absolutely ridiculous. Furthermore, not only does he sound like every other kid I’ve ever met, including my own, but there’s also this: my husband, who indeed does have ADHD (like, whoa-bad ADD that was diagnosed far before such things were trendy), barely moved as a kid. According to my MIL, he just sort of sat around the house and waited for stuff to happen. Moral of the story: what they do at 1 doesn’t predict what they do as 5 or 15 year olds.

Oh, and E doesn’t watch TV either. Maybe a minute of Dora, if it’s on, and then he’s done.

Laura Lohr | My Beautiful Life October 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I have a few stories of my own and have a rule not to discuss family (read: inlaws), also. Oh, there are lots of opinions. I could write a book with the stories I have—if I didn’t have that silly rule not to write about them. 😉

First of all, I am hesitant to suggest anyone medicate any kid, unless absolutely necessary. Secondly, a one year old on Ritalin? Come on.

I agree with everyone else—absolutely astonishing, rude, none of their business, and just downright mean.

Megan October 14, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Ditto to everyone else. That’s so ridiculous.

I hate labels, too. I think most parents do because we realize how wonderfully complex our kids are, and its frustrating that no one else sees it. I hate when my family members call Charlotte a “brat.” I know they’re kidding, and I have even caught myself saying it. But, I’m erasing it from my vocabulary for a reason. Because she isn’t a brat. She can be bratty. But she can also be sweet. In fact, she’s usually sweet. And it REALLY kills me when they day things like that about her because she doesn’t want to go to them or give them hugs. That doesn’t make her a brat. That makes her uncomfortable in this particular situation.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to hijack the discussion. I just know what you mean. And, I would be even more pissed if my family was making an even more serious accusation like this. I would definitely talk to them about it.

Alexis October 14, 2010 at 3:13 pm

It goes without saying that trying to diagnose anything in a kid this age (especially from an arm-chair) is asinine, however it does seem to be a trend. I feel like as a culture we are super excited about labeling kids. Everyone must be gifted, or classified, or special needs, or whatever…as if you are not parenting hard-enough unless you have some kind of “cause” for it all. Gross. Honestly I think this kind of behavior used to be chalked up to “kids will be kids” or the even more gag-worthy “boys will be boys” back in the day. The good news is that our generation is more involved with our kids than just sending them out back to play until the sun sets, but this hyper-labeling phenomenon might be an unanticipated backlash. Lordy, like we all don’t have enough on our plates.

kate October 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Ooo – you really lit the fires under some mom’s butts. 🙂

Here’s the thing – Beckett is SOOOO much like this I feel like I could snag your sentences and plug them into my own diary entries. The movement, the questions, the never-ending energy are constant from the instant she wakes up to the second she goes to bed. No, it’s not ADHD, ADD or another bullshit acronym – it’s called being a toddler. It’s called pushing limits. It’s being active.

And, I have a mother in law who should keep her mouth shut more often than she does. I played peacemaker for the first eight years we were married, but gave Jacob the heads up that I was ready to rumble after Beckett was born. When it came to my kid because that was off limits. Well, at Christmas – she said something and instead of just walking away or smiling and chewing away – I told her to “shut the F— up” (it’s scares me just writing it, because I can remember exactly how fuming I was).

You and NC know Jackson best. And, anybody who begs to differ needs to “shut the F— up”.

Cheryl October 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

I’ve already said my bit here but reading the comments reminded me of friends of ours who, when their daughter is having a bad day, have been known to say she’s being a bitch. Hearing them call a four-year-old that just makes me insane. There’s no reason to label/insult our kids.
(Also, completely irrelevant but I can’t resist … @kate, you’re the only person I’ve ever come across who named their child Beckett 🙂 Our Beckett is a boy, we used it because it’s my maiden name. Had to mention that, sorry!)

Kathleen (amoment2think) October 14, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Oh my gosh the labeling bothers me! But particularly the mental health labeling- babies, toddlers and kids go through HUGE mental and psychological development in very very short time spans. What is ‘abnormal’ for an adult or older teenager is nothing like what is ‘abnormal’ for a toddler. We have such ridiculous expectations of our kids, especially little kids, and it drives me nuts! And more then that- there is a very very very wide spectrum of ‘normal’ for kids because they are all so different. Jackson is perfectly within that spectrum!!! I would be just as riled up as you if it were me!

KT October 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

Wow. I don’t know why people want to diagnose kids with ailments when they are most likely JUST BEING KIDS. Who wants to feed their kids prescription pills? I don’t get it.

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