My youngest son is Dyspraxic and has ADHD, he was diagnosed at 9, but I always knew there was something... I won't say 'wrong' with him because I don't think of it as an illness or a defiency it's just part of his makeup and makes him who he is.  Intelligent, funny, sarcastic, persnickety, ultra logical and painfully honest.  But I also won't say it is easy to live with either, hence the guilty pleasure title of the post... I feel guilty that I am happy that he has gone to his fathers for a few days, after an entire summer holiday of Conor I need a break from him, whilst he is all the positive things I said he is also irritating, argumentative, blunt to the point of rudeness and totally oblivious to anyone's feelings but his own.

I guess I always knew there was something different about him from when he was really small, it was little things, rapt attention to a task to the point of obsession sometimes, but I got that, I was like that myself so I understood it.  It was later, at school that his issues really came to the foreground, constant arguments with a specific teacher after which I would be called in and complained to about his behaviour.  Apparently him pointing out that she was incompetant was inappropriate (even if it was true...she got fired by the end of the term). I did try pointng out that she should be impressed that not only did a 7 year old know in what context to use the word 'incompetant' (secretly I was well chuffed) but he could also spell it correctly... Now that is impressive you have to concede!

A period of 2 years of constantly complaining from the school about Conor's "rudeness" and for rudeness I would substitute "excessive bluntness" my son calls a spade a spade,  if you're ugly he would happily tell you, my dearest friend Suzi will testify to this, not the ugly part, she isn't,  but Conor christened her cabbage and it's stuck.  This was a very difficult time, as a single parent I was endeavouring to date and had many a man seen off by Conor baring his arse at the poor chap.  I think in his mind it was some sort of test to see if they would stick around.... If you can bear the sight of my arse you're alright with me! Kind of thing....   Not many men managed to stick it out I have to say.

But the most difficult side effect of Conor's behaviour was my mental health.  I couldn't work out where I was going wrong? At his fathers he was a model child, at home he was hell on legs,  he seemed to enjoy tormenting me, many was the day I locked myself into my bedroom with him battering on the door demanding entry whilst I sat on the inside crying bitter tears wondering what was I doing wrong. 

The day came when then school insisted he go to the child and adolescent mental health dept for assessment and I will be forever grateful for that insistance... After tests suddenly there was a reason... I wasn't a shit parent with an out of control 'naughty' child.  I was the parent of a Dyspraxic child and all of a sudden the lights came on.  

Treatment for the ADHD was offered and administered and things did get better, obviously Dyspraxia is not a condition that has a pharmaceutical solution but there are coping mechanisms and behavioural therapies that help and we use them.  

We haven't, however, managed to find a way of stopping Conor taking great pleasure in tormenting me, trust me 4 hours of being poked in the arm repeatedly by a knittng needle would be enough to send a saint into a screaming fit... I am no saint trust me... I scream!

But i have learned to see the behaviour as in some ways flattering, he torments me because he feels safe, I'm the one person he feels safe enough tormenting that he feels won't go anywhere, I'll put up with it and him because he is my son and I love him.

Doesn't mean I won't lose the plot and throw a shoe at him though... Like I said... I am no saint.

So here is to my days off from Conor... my holiday so to speak and when he comes home and asks did you miss me? I will be as forthright as he and say "no!"


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