Cookies and capsules

By Mir
March 25, 2005

I am in the midst of planning my daughter’s first ever not-at-home birthday party. In the past we’ve always had parties here at the house. I’m not a great hostess and I’m not super creative or crafty (what a ringing endorsement; don’t you want to send your kid over here for a party, now?), but no one has ever complained. I make a mean cake; I have friends who know how to whip up various party-worthy games and prizes and whatnot; and I’ve always managed to pull it off.

This year, no can do. No time. No spare brain cells. And the audience is becoming a lot more critical. What would delight a pack of preschoolers or even kindergarteners is just not cool enough for worldly 7-year-olds, you know. Puh-leeze. And judging by the amount of sleep I’m getting most of the time, creating one of my “special” cakes could be accomplished only by eschewing slumber for an entire night.

And truthfully, I’ve kinda exceeded my quota of Chickadee-inspired breakdowns for this year, already. Why add frosting and housecleaning to the mix? Much better to give some other people some money, and allow myself to believe that the resultant party will be magical, and my daughter will be happy.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Sort of.

Because, on the one hand, I found a small family-run bakery that puts on a couple of hours that no little girl could resist. They have a tea party, you see, with real linens and china. The girls get to have a tour of the kitchen and then decorate their own cookies alongside the head baker. While their cookies bake, we go play some tea party games (don’t ask me; I have no idea). The girls go home in a delightfully estrogen-rich sugar stupor. It’s a thing of beauty. And I don’t have to clean my house.

But on the other hand, I am just overwhelmed with grief right now. Planning this party feels like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I want to have a normal little girl who has a fun birthday and an uncomplicated life.

I want to think about decorating cookies, and not about the little green pills Chickadee is supposed to start taking tomorrow morning… or what those pills might do (or not do).

I want to think about how surprised and excited she might be about her new bike, and not about how I sat across from her therapist and her doctor this afternoon and fought back tears as I explained that neither of us can take much more of the “let’s see if this works” approach. “She’s not a guinea pig,” I found myself saying. “This isn’t fair to her. I’m having a hard time believing there isn’t a better way.”

I want to think about how nice it is that my ex is really trying (in his own way) to make her birthday special, and not about how he sat in the meeting with the neuropsychologist and said that if we can’t get our insurance to approve the evaluation, he doesn’t think he can afford it. (The referral will probably go through. But for him to say that—given his enormous salary—made me want to vomit. I’d already said I would find the money, regardless.)

I want to think about the guest list and the goodie bags, and not about the phrases that keep coming back to haunt me. “Not a classic presentation.” “A complicated set of symptoms.” And worse. The possible labels I fear. The wondering which is worse; the grappling with the undefined, or having fears confirmed.

I want her to be normal. And if she can’t be normal, I want her to be happy. And if she can’t be happy, decorating cookies at a tea party seems the height of absurdity, doesn’t it?

But it might make her happy. For a little while.

And it’s something I can do for her, while I’m waiting and praying that we figure out what she needs. Because—if I had a choice—I’d fix it with cookies instead of with drugs. If I had a choice, I’d fix it. Somehow.


  1. alice

    Oh, Mir. All I can do is offer you good wishes from afar, and let you know that your strength and support of Chickadee are going to help her get through this. Because you guys are doing the right things, and you *are* going to get through it.

    And then I’ll tell you that we’re here when that strength part gets hard to do on your own.

  2. Betsy

    Having parties out of the house rocks – it really does. You get to leave at least most of the mess behind and leave the scene of the crime pretty quickly after the party’s over, for starters.

    Do a small special family dinner at home instead – you can make a cake for that if you must. The bonus? No special housecleaning needed!

  3. erin

    The party sounds great – I’m 28 and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a real-live tea party! I hope Chickadee loves it. I hope even more that everything turns out OK with this doctor stuff. I’ll say a prayer for you & your family that things are really better than may they seem right now.

  4. chris

    “not about how I sat across from her therapist and her doctor this afternoon and fought back tears as I explained that neither of us can take much more of … [this]
    “possible labels I fear. The wondering which is worse; the grappling with the undefined, or having fears confirmed.”

    i find it amazing that you and i have been occupying that same chair and that same thought zone of late. sucks, doesn’t it? my prayers will go up with yours, that chickadee, the romaniac, and all the others like them will find their place. (and for their parents- some peace!)

    blessings all around/chris

  5. Penny

    Hi. I found your site the other day while doing a search on “self-fullfilling prophecy”. LOL. It was interesting and I have bookmarked it and come back each day. I know what it is like to have a child with a label and having them being used as a guinea pig.(thus the search) Sending lots of good thoughts your way. HUGZ >:D Hi. I found your site the other day while doing a search on “self-fullfilling prophecy”. LOL. It was interesting and I have bookmarked it and come back each day. I know what it is like to have a child with a label and having them being used as a guinea pig.(thus the search) Sending lots of good thoughts your way. HUGZ >:D

  6. Zee

    Hi Mir – I’m so sorry to hear about the frustrations and etc. In my experience, the problem w/ the psychotropic drugs is that they really do react differently in different people so – in a lot of cases – it’s always a crapshoot in the beginning. The dr. tries what he thinks will work based on symptoms presented and the properties of the drug. But it doesn’t always do what they think it will. I have been on several different kinds of anti-depressants and what’s worked for me hasn’t worked for other family members and vice versa. Other friends have had great response to a brand-name drug, while the generic – which works fine for me – sends them into a tizzy.

    I don’t know what Chickadee’s specific problems are, but my point is, as frustrating as it is to get through, every ‘trial’ gets you a little bit closer to finding something that will work well for her specific body and brain chemistry.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment – just wanted to offer a perspective since I’ve been there. Best of luck, we’re all pulling for you!! :)

  7. Carmen

    Mir, I’m here if you want to chat. I’ve been through a similar situation with my stepdaughter, at least I think it’s similar, and I can tell you what we found effective.

    I didn’t forget the info I pormised you, we’ve just had massive amounts of sickness here.

  8. Karen

    Oh Mir, I know what you’re going through. But you know what? She WILL be happy. It might not be an easy place to get to, but she’ll get there. And a cake-decorating tea party sounds like a lovely resting place on her journey! AND the less stressed you are about planning her party, the happier you’ll be, and that’ll help her too. So good on you for recognizing that it’s time to move the party out of the house! (For the record, my kids’ parties get “oursourced” beginning at age 5!)

  9. dave

    I wish I had a fast forward button for your life. We could just skip past this time, and on to where the problems have been solved. On to the happily ever after.

  10. Psycho Kitty

    Mir, I just emailed you.
    I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

  11. Kira

    Praying for you and Chickadee. Love y’all.

  12. wavybrains

    Oh. my. word. If I didn’t already lurk daily because of how amazing you are this would do it. You have the most incredible way of presenting what’s going on–and your emotions just wrench me open. I so feel for you and chickadee, and I think that the party sounds wonderful. And as a 26 year old who was a very difficult child, who had her parents fearing she would never be happy, and who sat through her share of evaluations etc–I offer the hope that she too will get through this, and all of you will find the answers she needs.

  13. Heather

    Aw, Mir. I hope and pray it’ll get better soon.

  14. mrsmogul

    I love baking. Is this what I have to look forward to? I can’t wait!!
    BTW my first time here.

  15. part-timer

    Aw, Mir, I hope so much that it all gets figured out soon. And that it’s good news. In the meantime, I think a tea party is a wonderful idea!! You are so sweet and a good mom. Hang in there.

  16. La Pixiatrix

    A tea party is fantastic for a 7 year old ! :)

    Try to keep breathing through it. Things will change. It matters that you are as devoted to her holistic health as you are. You are doing the right things.

    Keep venting as long as you need to. I won’t tell you that you should feel better, even though I wish you more peace. It’s ok to feel what you feel.

    Please be nice to yourself, in your thoughts and in your heart, if you can. It’s important.

  17. Amy

    Still praying!

  18. Lisa V

    Mir my daugheter was diagnosed with ADD in 2nd grade. It’s taken a couple of kinds of meds to find the right fit. We seem to have found one that works now. We struggle with medicating her. It ruins her appetit. Plus your kid on meds is sometimes a lot to wrap your head around. In the end we know that she functions bettero on them. We try to watch and see if we see other changes. I am sorry for your anxiety and Chickadee’s. I hope the party is great and gives you a little oasis of happiness.

  19. Eclair

    Mir, I’ve read your blog daily for months, although I think this is the first time I’ve left a comment. I just wanted to say that I understand, in my own way, what you are going through and if I could make it better, I would (too). Some of us are just that way, aren’t we – delightfully helpful. Maybe that’s not possible, but I do think that you rock, you make me laugh and you sound like the best kind of mom – the kind who shows her children how to overcome difficulty in life by doing it for yourself right there for them to see. I don’t even know you, but I’m proud of you. Cheers.

  20. Bob

    I’m sure that the tea party will go over like gang busters. How can a little girl resist!

    I’m also sure that you will find help for your daughter. It’s amazing what is available today. Our family has had several positive experiences in this area.

    I recently found that, where my children are concerned, I was able to find the means to cope with events I never thought I could or would have to. I know that you will too.

    I won’t suggest there’s anything I can do for you, but please know I would if I could.

  21. Kathy

    The party sounds wonderful! I hope the whole medication thing works out. You have a lot on your plate right now, at least you won’t have to clean up after the party! I love coming home after a party away, to peace and quiet.

  22. Colleen

    Sending you hugs my dear…I’m sure she’ll be thrilled. :)

  23. carson

    I think that you are a wonderful mother and I have tears in my eyes. I hope that I am half the mommy you are to my daughter, who has her own set of alphabet soup diagnoses. you are such a great champion for what is good for her.

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