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 25, 2011

A One Man Circus, an Assistant, and a Magician

We often discuss whether something that has happened in the house is blog worthy.  Mark, my husband, gave me a standard to follow the other day.  He said, "if you laugh so hard that you cry, it is definitely blog worthy."  He said that as he was laughing and crying about the very stories you're about to read.

Jaren is 10 years old now.  It seems impossible because I swear he was just a preemie in the NICU a couple days ago and preschooler yesterday.  In preschool Jaren decided that we had completely misnamed him.  He wanted to know why on earth we had named him Jaren when XO Aro was available and a much better name for a spy.  He took it very seriously.  He insisted on being called XO Aro and signed all of his papers by the same name. This while writing everything in perfect mirror image.

I really consider this intense imagination and thought process our first signs of his ADD/ADHD.  XO was part of a long string of characters which included Fasty Walks Through Walls.  He would run as fast as he could in circles, then stop and say, "Was I fast?  Did I make your hair flip up?"  At about 3 years old he announced we could call him Peter Parker because the spider bite transformation was complete.  Then there was The Phantom of the Opera, he grabbed his preschool teachers hand and started singing her songs from the musical at recess one day.

While eventually he gave up on being renamed XO Aro, he has never left behind his complete obsession with spies and spy gear.

This Christmas we gave him a present that I don't think we will ever be able to top.  It was not super expensive but it was perfect for him.  We created a spy case for him.  We got a little silver briefcase, filled it with black foam, and made cut outs for all kinds of tools.  There is a mag-light with a belt carrier, a light that straps to your head that can be a regular or red light, there are rubber ninja throwing stars, and a multi-tool with a tiny flashlight, among other things.  There was even room to add some items he already had, like a Swiss Army type knife. 

This case has been carried nearly everywhere since Christmas morning. He uses it constantly, and shows it to everyone that will look at it.

Yesterday, Jaren came into the living room waving a multi-tool in one hand and the Swiss Army knife in the other.  He was a little hesitant but he asked his big brother, Hunter, if he wanted to play.  I would guess that nothing could have prepared him for his sister's reaction.  Mary screamed in horror, "No!  Are you stupid?  Mom will be really pissed if she finds out you were knife fighting during break!"

Uh, for the record, mom will be,"really pissed" if she finds out you were knife fighting at anytime, not just during break. Mom also doesn't like it when you use words like "stupid" and "pissed".  Though I do understand that they were used as excited utterances in this case.

Even though she was only a few feet away, she had completely missed the part of the conversation where Jaren said that he wanted to use the multi-tools as Transformers in a pretend game.  She saw the knives and assumed that she knew what the boys were up to.  She was sure that Jaren was asking Hunter if he wanted to have a knife fight with him.

Typical ADHD moment in our house.  Typical that the boys would look at a multi-tool or Swiss Army knife and see a Transformer and want to play a game with them.  Typical that people would not be completely engaged in the conversation, only catching part of the information.  Typical that they would jump to a conclusions, based on the partial information.  Certainly typical that they would react without getting the details first.

This all happened on a day when Hunter was trying to come up with some good entertainment for my anniversary evening, especially since Mark was not going to be home (see post: 20 Years Ago Today).  He decided he was going to put on a juggling act.  This was no small task since he has never juggled before.  Onto the internet for quick reference juggling lessons.  He would create, as he called it, "A one man circus."  He had already recruited Jaren to be his assistant.

The balls were flying in multiple directions all around the living room.  The dog, who is more than obsessed with tennis balls, was trying to grab them midair.  Mariah had a very valid question, "How can you call it a one man circus if you have an assistant?"  Hunter was quick to point out that it was really a one man circus, with an assistant, and a magician.  He had recruited Mary who was now madly looking up card tricks.

Silly Mariah, she didn't understand the impact of a name.  Hunter explained, "A one man circus, with an assistant, and a magician sounds much better than a three man circus."   This was proclaimed while practicing the grand finale.  He was trying to juggle while standing on his little brother's back, who was on all fours trying to turn around in a circle.

I don't know, most days I might name it my very own a three ring circus. Definitely entertaining.

* As a side note -- they never actually put on the circus they had practiced in front of me on and off all day -- they got distracted.

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