I know I mentioned that Sweet Pea has ADHD, and
his re-entry from Mt. Misery last week prompted me to write about it a little. Before I start, I feel like I need to say that each of our boys is his own individual self. Like any other siblings, they take turns making Husband and I feel like parental rejects or parenting geniuses (depending on the moment) all the while slowly driving us insane in the manner of being pecked to death by chickens. But for this moment I am focusing on the boy who couldn’t focus. Sweet Pea.
In Sweet Pea’s case, his ADHD means several things, the first of which is he can’t think 5 seconds into the future. You know how once in a while you walk into a room and forget why you are there? That happens to him all. the. damn. time. I’ll say, “Sweet Pea, go get your inhaler because it’s almost time to go”. Five minutes later I will find him lying on his bed reading, picking a fight with his brothers or more likely rolling on the floor with the dog. This, of course, makes me insane. How difficult is it to go. get. the. damn. inhaler? Very difficult, evidently. He is in 6th grade and only recently started to occasionally remember to bring home the crap he needs for the night. He still doesn’t write down his homework assignments. I love those new fangled eboards so much, I could kiss them!
While I am on the topic of not being able to plan, when you are a “Ready, Fire, Aim” kinda kid, it can be tough to keep friends, especially when you are younger. When Sweet Pea was a preschooler, he was rough with other kids on accident. He would throw toys without thinking, knock kids down because he was running around excited. He would swing sticks and whenever he threw a ball it hit someone in the head. Everything became lethal: Umbrellas? Dear God, no! Rakes? Hit the dirt! There was a couple of years there where I could randomly say “Sweet Pea! Put that stick down now!” and it would always be relevant. One time he got ahold of a bungee cord and I sincerely wished I had one of those long metal poles with the rope loops attached to it that the animal control guys have to get it away from him without one of us losing an eye. His Kindergarten teacher told me that Sweet Pea would crawl over the other kids at circle time and the other kids found it distracting. Bunch of damn babies. (That’s okay, she will get Pumpkin Pie next year. Good luck with that.)
Sweet Pea is also, without a doubt, the most disorganized human being I have ever met. He never, ever, ever picks up a single thing in his bedroom. Ever. If he reads a book, he leaves it in his bed or on the floor where he was rolling around with the dog while he was reading it. Also, an ADHD kid doesn’t read ONE book, he reads FIVE books. Or ten. He doesn’t play with ONE Lego ship. He gets out EVERY Lego ship and sets them up all over his room in an intense battle scene with sniper ships peeking out of the sock drawer and recon ships on and under the desk. It is likely the stuffed animals will become involved and the book shelves will have to be cleared to assemble their command base. And he doesn’t want me to put them away because he isn’t done with them. He is NEVER done with them.
If there is ever a towel Sweet Pea has hung up without being held at gun point asked to, I will eat it. If I ask him to clean his room he gets so overwhelmed he is moved to tears. A couple of times a year I walk him through a little room organization and light cleaning and it is all he can do to keep from scratching his eyes out because it is so hard for him to focus. Sweet Pea hates organizing more than he hates homework and he REALLY hates homework.
Hating homework is a no-brainer for someone who can’t pay attention to anything that is not interesting to him for longer than 2 seconds and we all know how interesting homework is. Writing is a nasty, nasty bitch especially tough for Sweet Pea. Not handwriting (although that sucks, too), but organizing the stuff from inside your head (again with the organizing!) and getting it into written words. A really smart Neuro-Psychologist we saw (Professor Dumbledore) told me that writing is one of the highest function things our brains do because it uses like a zillion different brain processes. If you can’t pay attention or think ahead, you are wholly screwed when it comes to writing. Writing is one of those things you sorta hafta learn, you know, to be a productive citizen. Oh yeah, and good luck with 5th grade where all you freaking DO is write.
A weird thing about some ADHD kids, Sweet Pea included,
is that they can hyper-focus on stuff they like. Dumbledore told me that the smarty pants brain people are actually looking at ADHD as an inability to regulate attention rather than just an inability to pay attention. I find that fascinating! For Sweet Pea, get him in a room with Legos, books, or something involving ancient warfare and he will be all, Giddyup! See you tomorrow, I got stuff to do! It also isn’t uncommon for ADHD kids to hyper-focus on computers or TV. Sweet Pea does that too, but who doesn’t? Giddyup!
Coming up, I’ll look at the care and feeding of our Howler Monkey ADHD kid. He likes to be both cared for AND fed. Preferably with hugs and carbs.