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 1, 2010

What Box? Where?

This weekend has given me more material for this blog than I really care to admit.  After all, do I want the world to know that my 11 1/2 year old son, Hunter, tried to flavor his bath water with lollipops.   For that matter do I want the world to know that the summation of the experience was that he thought he really needed more lollipops to make it successful.

Ironically, Mark and I had been discussing our families inability to think inside the box, in fact, as we were reviewing a few experiences it became clear that we are far beyond the notion of 'thinking outside the box.'  We are somewhere around, "Box?  What box?  Where?"

Some people would definitely have issues with our embracing our uniqueness so wholeheartedly.  I am sure that some of our extended family question our tactics, feel that we should conform more.  Teach our children not to embrace who they are and what they are but squash it as much as possible.  As if it could or should be willfully set aside.

I want to be clear that we are not saying we or our children should act any way they please anywhere they please.  We have standards we expect to be met and consequences both good and bad.  We encourage choice with the understanding that they make their choices but do not choose the consequences. We, Mark and I, feel and have tried to teach our kids to embrace their uniqueness while respecting others and the boundaries of the situation they are in.

Boy that sounds simpler than it really is, it is a lot of constant work teaching them to recognize and establish boundaries.

For example, we went out for Chinese food for lunch on Saturday.  Our favorite family owned restaurant, The China Garden (in Fresno, CA).  Hunter's medication was clearly wearing off, actually that was a common problem at the table, and he was getting more and more hyper.    His hyper is not running around jumping on things hyper, his brain speeds up, he will sit in the same spot but is very fidgety and talkative, usually obsessively about one subject. He spent a great deal of time turning straw wrappers into a surly disguise while repeatedly asking Fernando, who is like a big brother to him, about a certain aspect of a video game.

Here is where my standard were enforced.  You can use all the straw wrappers on the table, no matter how embarrassed we get.  You have to stop driving Fernando crazy, and instead of your volume getting louder and louder you need to tone it down.

Fernando had asked him to stop because he was in public, to Hunter he was not in public, he was in a restaurant we always go to.  Hunter's world and perspective had shrunk to the table we were at with family and friends.  I turned him around and had him look at the other tables, "Hunter, this is the public, the other people around you."  Ahhhhhh...public.

So we are adding a sidebar box called Box? What Box?  Where? to illustrate the rather unique thought process and perspective that flows so freely in our house.  The perspective that leads a little boy, Jaren, in a new ninja suit to offer a sweet and humble family prayer asking for protection and safety for his family, say amen and then add maniacally - "protect them except from me." Then strike a menacing ninja pose.

Or to come up to me this morning with these little toothbrush shaped erasers that his sister got for Christmas and tell me that he wanted  his own set of toothpaste and toothbrush erasers so he could draw a picture of nasty teeth and then clean them.

But why encourage that mindset? Mark said this morning, "Our imagination is fed by what others see as impossible because it lies outside the boundaries of their own BOX."

We feed it because on the other side is art, music, humor, literature, film, acting, science that might never be dreamed of or created if we never got outside the box.  I feed it in faith because I am more of a why person than a why not person like my husband.

Yesterday it was a most painful rendition of Phantom of the Opera by a 6th grader that was just beginning to sing, sung over and over and over again. It was her sister who cried because she couldn't read music after her first music lesson but was reading it two lessons later. Today it is Border Patrol sung by those same young women who now have a message to share and the voice to move it forward. (www.blissmethod.com)

1 comment:

I'm a Ninja!!! said...

I love Jaren. He is absolutely AMAZING.