Butterfly grew up with food intolerances and was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger's
Syndrome, and learning difficulties. Now she struggles with OCDs.
This is the story of how we have faced these challenges.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Markets, Drugs and a Milestone

Another Market

Yep, someone fresh in town decided it needed a summer market and the town agreed, this time supporting the plan by fast-tracking the permits required. The young woman organizing it had a business plan and a set of standards for this market. Which is to say that it was specifically for people selling organic, fair trade and hand-made goods. This new market was to be held down by the docks and the interest was a little astounding to me, but not one to look at something that seemed promising askance, I signed on. Gathering up my rustic boxes and preserve recipes, I prepared for another busy summer. Butterfly was to have her own table this time, with framed photographs we’d all taken and she’d helped choose, print and frame, as well as my quilling art, dragon bags, and more. Butterfly’s Images we called it, and her friends also asked if they could help, so it was shaping up to be an interesting summer.

The biggest stumbling block was Butterfly’s sleep disorder. She had, of course, always had trouble sleeping, but as she grew farther into adolescence, her hours were becoming increasingly unrealistic. Getting up Saturday mornings for market was going to be difficult to say the least.

Ritalin and Sleep Disorders

As I mentioned earlier, when Butterfly was younger I decided against Ritalin. Both the psychologist and the conferring psychiatrist supported my decision, agreeing that these drugs are often used to regulate a child to fit the needs of the school system. Since I was homeschooling Butterfly, there was no need for this regulation. It was perfectly all right with me if she got up a little later in the day. There was no school bus to run for, so no reason to drag my child kicking and screaming out of bed early. This gave me the glorious luxury of doing up the dishes that were always in the sink, and enjoying a coffee and some breakfast before the sometimes jarring entrance of my hungry, often grumpy child.

The psychiatrist did recommend that when Butterfly needed to pay particular attention to a lesson, like when we were doing math or grammar, getting a little caffeine into her wouldn’t be a bad thing. With this in mind, Butterfly was allowed to have coffee as a youngster. In fact, we made a brief study of where coffee is grown and the concept of fair trade. Of course, just allowing her to have ordinary soft drinks would have done the trick too, but for awhile there, she was off sugar, so we weren’t really used to those. But of course, when Butterfly was allowed to have sugar again, she gradually became accustomed to some soft drinks, starting with the occasional Coke, then Mountain Dew, etc. All the better to learn punctuation with. So while many parents are worried about their “normal” kids ingesting too much caffeine, it was never a particular concern at our house as long as it wasn't ingested before bed.

Problem was though, once those pesky circadian rhythms kicked in, her sleep patterns became increasingly bizarre. At one point she was pretty much living the life of a vampire, and that really didn’t work. It was just too difficult to get her up at a reasonable time of day. Sleeping in? Fine. Sleeping all day? Not fine. So, having switched Butterfly from her doctor back to mine, we approached the issue of Ritalin again. The size and age she now was and knowing about propylene glycol and that it’s actually responsible for a lot of the side effects attributed to Ritalin, we decided that trying a non-glycol version of this drug might be helpful in regulating her sleep patterns.

I think it did help a bit, but not so as to impress. Butterfly took this for about year and her hours did normalize a bit. For sure, if I forgot to give her a pill in the morning, she would be terribly sleepy all day. But after about a year of taking it, she decided she didn’t want it anymore. There were two reasons for that. One was that the drugstore, which used to be a small town business that knew its customers, was making it increasingly difficult to get Bud’s prescription. Whenever we brought in a new script, they would disregard what was left on the old one, and this was not what the doctor intended. He kept records, they kept records, they were not in sync, so sometimes I’d call for a refill, only to be told there were none coming to us. And if I was told once, I was told 50 times that this is a controlled substance. No kidding. I mean, yeah, I’m really stupid and didn’t know amphetamines have a street value, and that’s right, now that I know, I’m liable to run right down to the school yard with Butterfly’s pills to make a few bucks. {/sarcasm} So much for small town charm.

The second reason was that Butterfly was feeling depressed and depression is listed as another possible side effect of this drug. So she decided to just skip it. We’ve been winging it ever since, as far as her hours go, and yeah, she most definitely has sleep and anxiety disorders. We are hoping to get some tests in the next month or so to try to figure out what to do next. But it’s difficult. Again, it’s not something she’s doing to anyone... not even herself. It’s something that's happening to her. So our search for something that will help continues.

The market? We did well. A little too well. I spent the summer doing nothing but making more preserves. Thing is, I’d had hopes of accomplishing a few other things as well. But at least I met some like-minded people. Money? Basically I spent the summer doing a lot of hard work for very, very little. Value added? I just don’t know. As far as Butterfly is concerned, she was a reluctant helper at best. Getting up for Market was entirely too early for her and she spent most of the time whining around, which was just a misery for both of us. I wound up doing much of the work for both tables, which was a little demanding. The experience was at least supposed to be educational for Butterfly, but I think she really only learned that she still doesn’t like getting up in the morning.

All things considered, we didn’t do the market this summer. We just go every week (later in the day) as customers to get those fresh vegetables, smoked fish, elk pepperettes, fair trade coffee, humus dip (from the guy whose recipe I use), breads for Butterfly and more. The fresh, high quality foods are good for the family, and I like to support the community market. This keeps some of the hard earned money of this community circulating within the community, which is better for all of us.

An Important Milestone

Butterfly got her learner’s permit a little over a year ago. She has some anxiety when writing tests, so it took her two tries, the same day, to get it. She knew the work, she just still panics when that piece of paper is set in front of her with ALL those questions on it. We talked and went over the handbook again. Then she wrote it a second time and passed. We enrolled her in the Young Driver’s course and she did quite well, passing that handily. I sent her to test for her G2 licence with her YD instructor because she is nervous driving with me in the car. I’m mom. I speak up when she does something wrong. She doesn’t care as much if it’s someone else remarking on her driving skills. So off she went with the instructor, and came home with her licence. It’s actually pretty cool letting her go do the shopping while I stay here and and get some things done, like writing a blog, while she exercises her independence. So far, so good. But more hurdles to come, both in terms of health, and learning.


  1. Interesting to read about your experience with Ritalin. We have avoided drugs so far, but Audrey is also not mainstreamed into a general ed setting and I dread the day when a teacher or administrator might suggest it. I hope that day doesn't come because I might be homeschooling if it does. I've 10 more years before I have to worry about driving...

  2. Yeah, I was afraid of Ritalin when Bud was little, because it was implicated in the incidence of Tourette's, and all those side-effects. :p Homeschooling is an option if there isn't a good alternative available. My next post will deal with homeschooling. :)

  3. On the caffeine and soda... I was just reading today (and thinking of you!!) that sodas contain loads of fluoride and fluoride makes you hang onto aluminum! I know that is an issue for you (and with Goose, heavy metals are an issue, like with most kids on the Spectrum, so maybe for Butterfly too?) I will get you the title of the book tomorrow... very interesting read!

  4. Thanks ChickiePea! Bud had some weight issues there so we cut out sugar, which nixed ordinary soda pop. (Sounds like a good thing.) Then she decided she didn't want to consume artificial sweeteners either. So she's been drinking "PC 100% sparkling fruit juice from concentrate" or organic lemonade sweetened with cane juice. And I had to stop having Coke anyway. {sniff} Miss it, but sounds as if I better be good. o_O Anyway, now when Bud needs some caffeine for concentration, it's coffee... or very occasionally, a Red Bull. (She used that for driving classes.) But day-to-day is the fizzy fruit juice. :)