Queen of the Distracted

Imagine life in a house with 6 kids - now imagine if 5 of those kids and their father have ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) - that is our house! Welcome to an inside view of my life and our home dominated by ADHD... THERE IS NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls!

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!"

Those were our oldest daughter Rachel's first words, from the time she was a toddler she would belt them out proudly standing on the arm of the couch. At the time we had no idea what ADHD was or that it would play such a central roll in our lives.

Since then we have learned a lot, not the least of which is how many individuals and families suffer in silence. We have experienced first hand how misunderstood and misrepresented a disorder can be.

As a family we decided to take action - to risk embarrassment and labeling to get this important message out to the world. Come join our family, share in our lives, and see ADD/ADHD as we see it...
A gift with a heavy price tag.

WELCOME to life in the ADD/ADHD House!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Things I Say... A LOT!

Sometimes I get really sick of hearing my own voice!  Especially when I am saying the same things over and over...and over again.  I know that every family hears some of these same things uttered and reiterated, but I am not sure that every family spends hours accomplishing one or two simple tasks. 

Consider an ADHD home:  I am sure that some of you KNOW what I am talking about.  

We start several hours early to get to school or work or any event that requires leaving the house. I never have a day without a fight or without an endless search for a missing shoe or struggle to get someone ALL the way dressed and teeth brushed. I understand that I have six kids, so automatically I am repeating myself more than the average mom, but take a look at my list and tell me if this is normal. 

I figured I would leave some things off the list: get up, brush your teeth, get dressed, change, you're not wearing that, try again, how many days have you been wearing that? get off the computer-- PlayStation-- Xbox-- sit down, stay still, stop moving, and no, I can't let you wear that out of the house because it will ruin your chances at a  social life in the future!

When I asked my kids what things I say repeatedly, the #1 answer was hands down variations of the following.   These land like sprinkles on the cupcake of my day.

Take your medicine.
Did you take your medicine?
Why is your medicine on the counter?
Why haven't you taken your medicine?
You NEED to take your medicine.
I need you to take your medicine.

And the winner is ...are you sure you took your medicine?  This I say right before I schedule a med check with the psychiatrist (thank you Dr. Matthew House).

Here is my disclaimer: I know that medication can be a touchy subject, but it works for us and our family (more stories for another day).   Parents have to do their own research and pick their own paths - find what works for their families. 
While medicine helps tremendously and takes my kids and husband about 80-90% of the way to a normal ability to focus and follow through, it does not do everything.  My husband Mark has years of creating and using coping mechanisms while our children are still learning to do that.

I spend a lot of time redirecting, there is a lot of FOCUS, EAT, pay ATTENTION, get back on task, FOCUS, you can not do the dishes from the living room, your bedroom or the bathroom, HELLO...what are you SUPPOSED to be doing, REMEMBER what you are doing, DO your JOB and back to FOCUS.  

I have been tempted to buy one of those counters and see how many times I say “focus” a day but I think I would give up after 100 or so.

Not a day goes by with out the multiple variations of “no”.  My favorite is from my dad and one I heard all the time growing up;”wanting and getting are two different things.” Well accompanied by “the answer is still NO.” and  “Very creative BUT NO.”

Sometimes I just have to ask why? This one rarely yields a reasonable answer and is usually followed by, “I know your IQ... so what were you thinking?” An accident? Really?

There are always the things I say in or around an embarrassing moment like,
“That's NOT appropriate.” You HAVE to respect people's space.  Some said in desperation to avoid the embarrassing situation like, FILTER and reel it back in.

We are going to be LATE! Never seems to get the urgency I feel it deserves. 
While, “So I can throw away everything I find on the floor.” seems to get instant attention, “WAIT” and a mad dash. 

Believe it or not this has come up more than once.  NO you can't buy them - THERE IS A HOLE IN THE CROTCH! I don't care if they fit perfect - THERE IS A HOLE IN THE CROTCH! I am NOT going to buy something that I have to fix - THERE IS A HOLE IN THE CROTCH!  

Somewhere in there, occasionally is...Mommy needs a timeout.

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