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!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends

Is it wrong to have a over the hill party for a young woman turning 18?  Our oldest, Rachel, is about to turn eighteen.  For most young people this would be an exciting landmark birthday.  Not for Rachel.  She has been torturing us with this impending birthday for years, escalating daily now as we approach what surely constitutes the end of the world.
"I'm running out of time!" has been her mantra.

She has tried to stop time by refusing to grow up, she didn't date until this last spring, she still hasn't got her drivers license or permit and I am sure her love of fairy wings is interwoven in there somewhere, not to mention a couple of other undesirable behaviors.

For some reason Rachel thinks that all life and hope and youth will end when she turns eighteen.  Among other things, once she turns eighteen,  she will no longer be able to pursue her life long dream of being a rock star. This by the way is a totally self imposed deadline.

I keep trying to explain to her how much easier it will be to pursue her dreams, especially this one, in that sweet spot of life after you are eighteen and before you are an obligated adult.  She even said yesterday morning, "In a week I will be eighteen - my life will be over - but at least I am not the oldest in the band - Cameron is." (side note..all four current members of the band are on ADHD meds...gotta love it)

How sad...for me...for all of us over eighteen ...how bleak.

My hope is that Rachel will wake up the day after and realize that the world has not stopped turning on its axis, that hopes and dreams are a life long pursuit not just available for realization to those 18 and under.

In the meantime she is holding onto her one and only itty bitty light at the end of the 18 year old tunnel; ordering from an infomercial on TV...must be 18 or over to purchase...on her birthday.

Did you know that there is a Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica? Mariah (16yrs old) is very excited about this new discovery and has been sharing it with anyone who will listen for the last week.  She has been a little surprised by people's reactions including her principle who chuckled and indicated...
"She was a little on the odd side!"

I spent all day taking Hunter to the doctor, it is funny because every time I say I am taking someone to the doctor most people I talk to assume someone is sick.  Grandparents, family and friends register appropriate concern.  No, I answer, I am taking him or her to the psychiatrist.  I love our psychiatrists (that is really another story).

This story is about what happens when I am gone.  We live in the foothills and have an hour plus drive to civilization. It means that every trip to the doctor is a day in town.  So, right around lunch time, Mary who is home, calls with a lunch emergency.

Jaren wants pizza.  Well, wanting and getting are two different things.  There is no freezer pizza, I tell Mary, and I am not there to make pizza dough, no pizza for Jaren.
Mary responds, "It's okay, Mama, I have speaker phone."
 Maybe it took me so long to figure out where she was going with the whole speaker phone thing because Jaren was in the back ground...bah bah  bah-ing a tune. "Mary, is Jaren bah-ing the Darth Vader theme song?"  Yes, yes I clearly hear Darth Vader's theme song.

Yes. the phone has speaker phone on it.  Ohhhhh...it clicks...you want me to walk you through making pizza dough ...with yeast...over the cell phone...while I am driving and running errands.  Ha ha ha...NO.

When Hannah was little Mark and I were talking about picky eaters at the dinner table.  As cute as a little 3 year old can be she piped up, "I am a piggy eater!" and made little oinking noises. 

As time has gone on she has developed the most interesting eating habits.  I guess you could say she is a picky eater, though for the most part she eats fairly healthy with a love a fresh vegetables, a desire for only egg whites, a distaste for mayonnaise, and a moderate desire to eat meat.  Her great downfall would have to a passionate love of white bread and carbs in general. She is definitely a general in the white bread army (see Bread Wars).
 Hannah's first real sentence, "I WANT CHOCOLATE!"
Poor Hannah was recently diagnosed with anemia - it is recommended that she eat an iron rich diet in addition to her iron supplement.  Hmmm...let's see liver, beans, whole grains, tofu, egg yolks, sea food as the list goes on, let me tell you, Hannah is not happy. She is not a piggy eater anymore.

By the way Hannah (our non-ADHDer) has always been mellow and pretty quiet - she was about 2 and still speaking very little.  One day we were driving and out of the blue Hannah spoke, rather forcefully, her first real sentence, "I WANT CHOCOLATE!"

We were getting ready to leave for church on Sunday.  Getting everyone dressed and out the door on time is always a challenge.  This would be that point in the week where I feel my sense of urgency to be on time is generally dismissed as a silly "mom thing".

I am running back and forth from one end of the house to the other and Hunter calls out from the front door that he is ready and going to the car.  Here is where the definition of ready really comes into play.  Hunter's definition is clearly looser than mine.  To Hunter if the clothes are on his body and he has shoes in close proximity (regardless of socks) he is ready. (look at the earlier post "The Picture of ADHD")

My definition is much different - I want the clothes on right-side-out, front in the front, back in the back, buttons buttoned, zippers zipped, and socks (not Mark's big and tall size 14 socks). Though sometimes socks seem like the cherry on top - a wonderful addition that I don't always get.  I know, I know, my definition of ready demands a lot - ridiculously high standard.
As he called out that he was ready I paused in my running to and fro to take in the sight.  There he stood looking a little like Bud from "Meet the Robinsons".  His bow tie almost sideways, sweater vest on backwards, hair uncombed.  He was just missing the smiley face on the back of his head.  It certainly broke the tension of the morning - I couldn't help but chuckle...tell him to wait right there...and go grab the camera.

Come to think about it our house has some striking similarities to the Robinson family in Meet the Robinsons.  If you haven't seen it our family highly recommends it. In fact, we love it so much that everyone has taken a character from the movie as their own, the one they identify with the most.  I think I may be the T-rex, "I have a big head and little arms and I'm not too sure how well this plan was thought through!"

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