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, February 15, 2010

Nesting...and I Don't Mean the Obsessive Desire to Clean

Over the years we as a family have found that we have our own definitions and terms we use all the time – our own family language.  Take for example the term nesting.

Nesting:  When someone refuses to put anything away in its place and insists on having their belongs piled around a central spot like their favorite place to sit or their bed.  Creating a nest of stuff, where everything is mostly visible.

It is a strange phenomenon, nesting, one that took me years to figure out and I am still working on resolving it one child at a time.  It started with my oldest daughter, Rachel.  Rachel loves to draw and has drawn since she was about 18 months old. Rachel, I am sure, is personally responsible for the demise of a good portion of the rain forest.  In fact she is bound to be on an environmentalist watch list somewhere.  All those papers, piles and piles of papers ended up on her floor.  We bought colorful bins and folders, purple binders and decorated file boxes but they were never in use very long.  It was maddening. 

No matter where it started out it would end up in a tight circle with just enough space in the middle for her to sit. I turned to organizing books and plans – all laid to waste by Rachel.  Some did have interesting idea – one of which started me on the path to understanding.  Though I can not remember the name of the book the idea was that you had to organize based on your personality and needs.

This sent me on a quest to understand why Rachel felt the need to have everything she owned in plain sight.  It ended in a very interesting perspective.  Rachel was afraid that she would forget where she put something. She brought a whole new meaning to out of sight out of mind.  All my pretty colorful solutions were blocking her view and enhancing her fear that her memory would fail her. 

In my house, at least, this is a very common manifestation of ADHD (Attention Deficit hyperactivity Disorder) and causes a great deal of anxiety.  It causes anxiety for my kids as they try and keep everything visible; anxiety for me as I want it invisible.

Rachel ended up with very plain clear plastic bins that could be stacked easily and viewed from all angles. When we finally got Rachel’s nest under control we found the most interesting things residing in it.  Not the least of which was a huge red onion. We knocked her nest down a notch or two and made her room manageable for me and for her.  Notice I did not say perfect…manageable is okay.

I wish I could say that clear plastic was the solution to all life’s organization quandaries but then there was Mary.  Mary is my current nester.  She makes Rachel look like an amateur. 

When I brought home the clear plastic bins she wanted to pick the largest most unreasonable things to put in them, huge stuffed animals.  That filled the bins in no time at all with the mashed up faces of Build a Bears.  At this rate her room would have been filled with clear plastic bins and still had a nest of My little Ponies, Littlest Pet Shops, photographs, drawings, writings all held together by some brewing science experiments.

Not the idea or the result I was looking for. She thought I didn’t realize that ploy of distraction to draw me away from the nest of treasures.  I am not so easily fooled.  She may win the battle but I will win the war.

I am currently in the process of figuring out what works for Mary and it isn’t working as quickly as I want it to.  As much as I want to go in there and clean it all for her I know, by experience, that unless she has buy-in and is a part of the solution that works for her then it will be another short-lived de-nesting experience.

Can't help but wonder if this extreme nesting is another side helping from the ADHD buffet of co-existing conditions, maybe a little Obsessive Compulsive Hoarding going on!  Rachel, Mary, and Hunter I can definitely see it...all over the place.  Ahhhhh Hunter, who wants to keep the Hulk big wheel trike he had when he was little, the one that got run over by a car about 5 years ago, for his children.  Along with every paper he ever touched, every item of clothes and every toy.  

In the end i just hope for a reasonably clean room, I hope they’ll have learned to understand themselves a little better and come up with a coping mechanism that will help them manage themselves when they are on their own.   

Hopefully, I can have my house full of kids and be an empty-nester at the same time, hopefully.

Check out this link to hoarding that was sent to me and remember that the internet is full of it (LOL) so judge information you read on it carefully:   


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