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!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Out with the Old...HOPEFULLY!

It is late! Like really late or REALLY early - I should be sleeping because I have to drive people places in just a few hours BUT I can’t seem to sleep.  So here I sit…typing.

We had a fairly normal Wednesday today - no late night trips to the ER this Wednesday!  Yeah!  Just the normal amount of chaos getting ready for cub scouts, scouts, and young women’s activities. 

As fate would have it I made a last minute run to town so that Thursday would run smoothly. I knew I would be gone most of the day getting an infusion of Remicade that I get every four weeks. 

We made a Wal-Mart stop and then it was off to Subway for a quick dinner. I had a Wal-Mart plan - it included the easy food for Thursday and a new pair of tennis shoes for Hunter. 

Hunter has to be eased into these kind of transitions, not because he doesn’t like new shoes but because he never, and I mean NEVER, wants to part with anything. Even shoes that might be an argument for evolution because they seem to be sprouting legs and running off or could possibly be confiscated by the government and used as a weapon of mass destruction.

Hunter really has a terrible time letting go, it is more than just a resistance to it, Hunter has told me that he is fearful that he will not just forget but lose forever the memories associated with belongings in his life.  So every paper and toy, item of clothing and shoe, they all help him remember and are a crucial part of his memories.  I am sure that is why he wants to keep everything - it is like surrounding yourself in a 3D scrap book.

Another lovely side order from the buffet of mental health issues we call ADD/ADHD.  Another thing that is hard for most ‘normal’ minded people to understand.  It is not just a, “get over it” situation.  Where other kids may not like getting rid of old stuff He has a deep physical and emotional reaction to it, a sadness that is magnified and disproportionate. 

That is not to say that he doesn’t have to learn to cope with his fear, on the contrary, it means that he has to take extra steps, we have to take extra steps now, when he is young, to help him learn to process and cope with his feelings.  If not then they will control him more and more rather than him learning to be in control. 

Parenting is hard work, parenting a kid with special needs is harder work. 

We went to accomplish this same new shoe task a couple months ago and as we were walking into the store he started grilling me on what was to become of his worn out Transformers sneakers.  I have learned to be a little sly about my responses for obvious reasons. 

Truth be told, if I told him my true intentions - the one that involves the trash can - he would do his best to “hold it in” but he would fall apart and it would break my heart. 

Last time as we were walking into the store and Hunter threw out the loaded question and I carefully dodged it.  Hunter opened the subject, “So, we aren’t going to get rid of these shoes, are we?” 

I carefully answered, “Let’s not worry about that right now, we haven’t even found new shoes yet.” 

“Good,” he responded, “Because these shoes have been with me every step of the way.” 

There were no new shoes that day but there were this day.  A perfect pair of camouflage cloth tennis shoes, on a little shoe hanger hooked together with that wonderful elastic that keep them together in the store; sadly, to be separated forever once they enter my house. 

We saw, we tried on, we bought.  We raced back to the car with the shoes and a quick pack of sock (hope springs eternal - maybe he’ll wear them).  I gave quick short instructions; Mark is forever telling me I am too wordy for the ADHD mind.  I admit it, I am wordy.

“Take your boots off, put the socks on, and put on the new shoes.”  We were already half way to Subway, our next stop.

We hit Subway with a wave of chaos. Both boys were talking a mile a minute as I was trying to order for them, for all of us.  Hunter was in a long running commentary about the fake sandwich, his hands were all over the display case and he kept interrupting himself trying to decide if he should quickly switch drinks…again.  Red Powerade or blue Powerade?

I am telling the lady just to take to pickles and olives off the meatball sandwich (Hunter’s) and put them on the roast beef sandwich (Jaren’s).  She is looking at me for reassurance; I think she is waiting for me to tell her to make the sandwiches all over again.  “No, really” I said in my best mommy voice, “just take them off that one and put them on this one.”

Hunter starts to head back to the drink cooler for a third time when I notice that he is walking very awkwardly.  Waddling really, I look down at his feet and there is that elastic STILL holding the two shoes together.  WHAT?  WHY?  Maybe there is something to be said for wordiness.  After all, I left out, “cut and remove the elastic holding your shoes together” from the list of directions.

We take our chaos out the door and as we are racing to the van Hunter comes waddling behind us screaming, “wait for me, guys, I can’t run fast, this thing is still on my shoes.”

Later that evening I notice his pockets bulging and I ask, somewhat hesitantly, what he is carrying around.  He pulls out the Wal-Mart bag, the shoe hanger and the elastic, long since cut and removed from the shoes. 

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