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!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gotta Laugh

These last couple weeks have been so crazy that I transitioned from regular taxi-mom to long-distance charter bus driver.  So crazy that I have developed a repetitive stress injury in my hands from gripping the steering wheel for 8 hours of driving on some week days.  I have had quite a year so far. I know I keep saying that, but I am telling you I have driven more in the last year than in my entire life. 

The most frustrating part is that blog-worthy things happen, and I have not found a way to drive and type at the same time.  Even if I could, I can’t keep a laptop charger working long enough to make any headway. 

Now that I have a little time I have uncurled my squinched-up fingers so I can finally sit down and type. 

It is weeks like these that fry my nerves.  I get tired and worn out.  We have all our normal responsibilities plus a load piled on just to make life interesting.  The result?  I end up in the shopping mall food court doing school work with Jaren while Hunter and Mary are doing state testing at another site for three to four hours. 

I think I missed my true calling in life as plate spinner in the circus. 

I am texting with my high schoolers.  They are on an eternal quest to find the perfect reason to come home early.  They are having heated debates with teachers.  They are sure that Rachel’s ruptured ankle ligaments have turned gangrenous and will surely lead to amputation.

Having already driven an hour to testing, I am dreading the hour drive home, and the obligation to take my kids to a youth activity another hour from our home in the opposite direction later in the evening.  In the meantime, I am trying to field phone calls and do third grade grammar at the mall with Jaren.

As he works, I juggle bills, worry about gas that I burn at 10 miles a gallon, fret over dinner plans and turn-around time before we leave the house again. 

I am teaching Jaren about homographs, words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.  I explain the assignment: “Pick a homograph and write two sentences illustrating the word using two different meanings.”

I go to correct Jaren’s sentence.  He picked the word soil for his homograph.

“I spread soil around the yard.”

“I think I just soiled my spandex.” 

Thank goodness for comic relief.  I really needed to laugh.

I was talking to my friend, Laura, on the phone the other day and she was telling me how funny our family is.  I couldn’t help but think later, are we really that funny?  Or is it our ability to find humor in our lives and laugh at ourselves that makes us so amusing?

Most of the time, dinner at the Aro house is open mic night at The Improv.

Ironically, while we were talking and her ADHD kids were running in and out of the room around her, she had to handle a few kid situations of her own.  Without missing a beat of conversation, she said to her youngest son, “No, you can’t have butter for a snack.  Here have a peach.” 


Life is stressful. Everyday there are demands that we stretch to try and meet.  Some of those are placed on us by society; some we place on ourselves. Everyday there is drama, there is anxiety; and in our house there is a frantic buzz of energy that comes from the abundance of ADHD.  Most of the time our family chooses to laugh.

Humor mixed with creativity has helped us to cope with the anger and frustration that easily beset us.  It has given us a positive outlet for what can quickly turn into rage, what in the past has turned into rage. 

Over time humor has become a learned response, allowing us to keep situations calm so that they can be managed without spinning out of control.  Humor diffuses situations.  Humor makes teaching moments possible and more powerful.

Humor makes living with ADHD manageable.

I have to laugh now as Hunter comes back to the computer and school from a break.  He is still wearing his helmet, Nerf vest with Nerf guns dangling from it, and gloves.  He announces boldly that he is ready to get back to schoolwork. 

“Really?” I tell him, “Because I think your mind is still outside in the game you were playing.”  I tell him to take the gear off; it is like a comedic scene from a movie as he unloads pockets.  He begs to leave the Nerf vest on . 


Jeanne said...

My husband had almost the identical conversation with my kid that your friend had with hers: "No, you can't have whipped cream for snack. Have some carrots."

KLARK Nehring said...

I think you need that software that recognizes your voice and you can just dictate blog posts. : ) I am glad that I finally have a computer that I can regularly check out your blog posts. Thanks for sharing!