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, April 25, 2012

How Many Un-medicated ADHD Kids Does it Take...

Evenings in our house can get pretty interesting.  Only a couple of our family members take afternoon medication and of those only Mark, my husband, can be counted on to take it reliably without being reminded.  As a result, most of the household is completely un-medicated by 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. 

What does that mean?

For those of you who don’t already know that means that most of the house, as Mariah would say, “has the attention span of a doughnut.”  They can’t hold a thought for more than a millisecond.  They are distracted by everything, moving all over the place with no apparent destination, very talkative, loud, and totally fragmented.  Let’s add irritable to the list.

Naturally, that makes it the perfect time to start a project that takes everyone’s help, concentration, and focus.

Last Friday I posted that one of our afternoon projects was setting up a pool in our yard (see post: Eh, I'm Gonna Risk it!).  When I wrote the post we were still in pre-evening chaos.  The band hadn't started practicing, dinner was still in the planning stages, and we hadn’t started putting the pool up yet.   

And to be honest, I was too busy trying to keep my head above water to really monitor everything that was going on until I looked out the kitchen window and saw all the kids (all of our 7 plus the drummer and his little brother) holding up one end of the pool trying to figure out what to do next.  

I really wish I had THAT picture...it was a sight to behold but we couldn't get a camera out there fast enough to catch it.  Instead, I did what I do best - deferred the chief project manager, my husband.  I had been feeding him updates from the kitchen window.  This one went a little like this, "Mark, it's time for some intervention, they are all standing holding up one end of the pool trying to figure out what to do next."  

He likes to give the kids opportunities to problem solve on their own but this was headed south fast.  Remember...distracted, wriggly, irritable, prone to long rants on unrelated topics.  Mark took sympathy and went out to offer some guidance.  His first suggestion - set up all the footings and supports not just those at one end of the pool.   

They were resistant at first but they set the whole thing back down on the ground and started to add the rest of the supports.  They were hot, tired, and totally unfocused but really motivated.  So, they kept at it.  As they worked, occasionally, from the back yard someone would yell out, "What time is it?  Is it time for The Finder yet?"  We all have our limits and that was theirs - it was getting dark fast but that didn't matter - who needs to see while setting up the pool.  They were fine as long as they could finish by the time The Finder came on.
Remember no medication, big project.  There is one problem with being the only non-ADD/ADHD child in a house full of it - you spend a great deal of time being the only one who isn't distracted.  Hannah is that child.  How metaphoric that here she is holding the whole end of the pool by herself.  The question is:  Where did everybody go?

With a lot of guidance and redirection they got it almost standing.  Notice by this point Mark is out there keeping everyone on track and working efficiently.  I would love to say that they got it up and started filling it all before The Finder but it didn't happen that way.  They did, however, get it mostly up and were able to finish it over the next day or two.  Today was the first day they were able to swim in it.  In a great twist of irony the blazing hot weather had disappeared and it was raining this morning.  To be honest it could have been snowing and they would have insisted on getting in.  Who could blame them really?  

As I watched them in the pool out my kitchen window tonight I couldn't help look back to last Friday.  Somewhere in the couple hours they were attacking that pool, wrestling with it to get it up and semi-standing my good friend Penny leaned over and asked, "How many un-medicated kids does it take to set up a pool?"  Answer ~ my six, Penny's two, a Hannah, and a project manager, Mark. 

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