Following Bunny Trails

“I don’t have ADD, it’s just that…OhLookAKitty!”

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Best-Laid Plans

The semester ended a week before Christmas.  I made it, survived, just barely squeaked by with a C in Statistics!  The big plan was to prepare for Christmas, and to send out cards with lots of letters catching up with loved ones.  The goal was to spend lots of time with the kids, baking cookies, making candy, playing educational games, etc.   My “to do” list included fixing, gluing, painting, cleaning, selling, and organizing.  And I had planned on writing several Bunny Trails posts, because I quickly found that I don’t have time to write them during the school semester. Well, you know what they say about “best-laid plans.”

My semester ended and the boy still had a week to go before his winter break.  I had a wrap-a-thon and checked off the first item of my to-do list.  Then I packed for our visit to friends and family, whom remain in the city we moved from a decade ago.  Gifts were exchanged, people were caught up on current family events, and we raced home as an ice storm was following close behind.  Only a couple of hours after we reached our homestead and unloaded the car, our world was glazed with a half-inch of ice.  The destructive ice came, downed trees and powerlines, and melted within 24 hours.  We were lucky; a mere 30 miles north of us had hundreds of thousands of people without electricity, some for days and even throughout Christmas.

The day after racing the ice storm home was the hubby’s much anticipated, annual family Christmas gathering.  We had a great time as usual, kids running around willy-nilly while the adults play catch-up and stuff our faces with pot luck food.  But in the hours following the party, hubby spent most of the overnight awake, making several trips to the bathroom.   He was feverish and exhausted, so I got up with the kids.  When he was able to crawl out of bed, it was my turn to crawl in.  I spent the rest of the afternoon feverish and ill.  We had been stricken by a noro/roto-type virus on Christmas Eve eve.  I rallied on Christmas Eve to do some shopping for food and supplies, and picked us up some fast food because I was not feeling spry enough to cook, yet the kids still needed to eat.  Hardly anybody picked at their supper, what a waste of money!  I fell ill again immediately after eating, duh-you don’t eat fast food after being sick!  Hubby got better and the kids only had a few symptoms but, for some reason, it clung to me for a while.  Christmas night was the worst, I hardly slept a wink.  When I awoke and realized the nasty virus had run its course, I suffered a headache all day.  I didn’t care, I’d take the headache over the stomach virus any day!  But alas, the headache morphed overnight into sore throat, swollen tonsils, and a deep cough.

So my best-laid plans dissolved into three weeks of sickness.  No cookies were baked, no candy made, no games played, none of my to-do’s crossed off the list.  School resumes for the boy tomorrow, and next week my college courses resume with a whole new schedule.  There is a silver lining to these events though.  I’m grateful that the illness struck between semesters; I can’t imagine attempting the course load I have ahead of me, while being this sick.  Besides, the children have no idea that they were gypped out of any holiday traditions.  They had a relaxing vacation with lots of TV watching, video gaming, and very few demands made of them.  All in all, a pretty darn good holiday.

































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Compulsed by Impulses

Disciplining my son has always been so difficult for me because I believe that his behavior is sometimes fueled by impulses that he can not control, especially as a five-year-old.  I never know if he is the world’s most strong willed child, or if he Just Can Not Quit the behavior.  What makes me think that it could possibly be an issue of his ability to control himself, is because I practice consistency to the point where I’m almost obsessive about it.  I’ve seen the results of parenting without following through on “threats.”  Woe to the parent of the child who isn’t afraid of consequences!  And for a while, it was “woe to me” because no matter how consistent I was with the timing and type of consequence, the boy would push it one step past the proverbial “line in the sand”, and force me to discipline him.  He just Had to say it, touch it, do it, that one last time… it was as if he just could not help himself, as if he were compulsed by impulses!

I found myself wondering why anyone would not just stop!  Why they would push until the threshold of tolerance was crossed and they’d end up in time out, every time!   I do remember when I was quite young, I was excitedly bouncing on our family friends’ couch.  I was told to quit, I was told to quit bouncing a second time, and then their grandpa lightly swatted my behind.  I was hurt and humiliated that this grandfather figure had gotten so stern with me, why hadn’t I just stopped when he told me to?  I can tell you from experience, the person with ADD/ADHD has a hard time actually hearing and processing a command.  My brain was so busy going “Weee…Weeee, this is fun!” that I didn’t even hear the first command to stop bouncing on the couch.  In fact, it was probably just starting to register that a command was even said when the swat on the behind came (and no, it didn’t hurt… just my ego.)  This is why you will often hear me repeat a command three times in quick succession to the boy.  I know #1. that he’s most likely not going to hear the first command, and the processing will start with the second command, and recognition happens with the third repetition.  And #2. He moves so darn fast!  If I don’t get his attention very quickly, he’s gone out of earshot.

Because of my personal experiences with ADD, I have this ability to identify with my son, and I think it helps me to be more patient with him at times.  But it may also be causing more internal confusion.  For instance, if I had no idea what ADD was all about, I might just set rules and follow them strictly.  In stead, I find myself struggling with “is this an impulse or is he being directly defiant?”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to allow unacceptable behavior to continue because I think it may be fueled by impulses, or sugar, or food dyes and additives.   But there have been times in the past where the boy has spent a good chunk of the day in his room because he just can’t seem to behave for even a few minutes at a time.  Maybe what he really needed was a “reset,” and to have some extra special time with mom, but instead I was Mrs. Followthrough.  These are the times when the fine line between disciplining and understanding, correcting and comforting are blurred and confusing.  All I can tell you that this is all a learning experience, and that I’m sure I’ve crossed, stepped on, tripped over, and fallen onto that fine line.

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Unless You’re a Hilton…

Unless you’re a Hilton, heredity can sometimes be a b*@#ch!  DNA-double-helix-image-1Yes son, along with the propensity toward diabetes, heart disease, and addictions if you don’t chose a healthy lifestyle, I also passed on to you ADD.  Except you, being a young boy and all, have the “hyper” on top of the “extremely distractable” that comes with ADD.   I was hoping your dad’s laid-back, calm demeanor would overcome my wild, untamed gene-pool.

I remember the first meeting with your daddy’s family so long ago.  We ate supper at a diner, and his quiet family completely overwhelmed me!  The silence, which was comfortable for them, deafened me!  I felt the need to blurt on several different topics to fill in the spaces.  The sound of silverware clunking and salad munching was too much for a girl from my upbringing.  I was used to vying for “air-time” against my mother and her family.  Everybody had something to say, had an opinion, conversation flowed, we interrupted each other and no one took offense.  When my mother and her cousin got together it was like watching the most amusing tennis match ever!   Your head volleyed from mom to cousin “Boney” to mom to Boney.  You didn’t even try to interject, you’d be spoken over, completely unheard.  Those were some of the most entertaining times, watching my mom and her cousin.  They’d feed off each other, get each other going.  Each story from childhood got funnier and funnier, those two, when together, were incorrigible!  This is the ilk I come from.

I have assimilated into my husband’s family nicely in the 19 years that we’ve been married.  I no longer need to make idle chat or fill in spaces.  There’s plenty to talk about, and if not, the silence is comfortable.  We can just gaze contentedly at my in-laws’ lake.  I prayed while both my children were in utero, that they would have the calm nature that comes from their father’s bloodline.  Baby girl seems to be quite laid back, but she is becoming more comical and excitable as she absorbs her loud and often chaotic environment.  I don’t worry about her having ADHD though, we already knew the boy had it by 18 months.  It’s true what they say, that The Lord doesn’t give you more than you can handle!  And I don’t think He would entrust me with two loin-cloth wearing, chandelier swinging, little monkeys!

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Screaming Mimi

You know what can turn me from Mommy to Screaming Mimi in 2.5 seconds?  Running late!  I stink at time management!  And on top of that, I am a little bit of a self-perfectionist, so I’m really picky about  being on time for scheduled events.  It doesn’t matter how early I get up, if I lay out my clothes, if I pack the night before, if I set my keys and purse in the same place every night…  Some unforeseen circumstance is going to happen to make me late!  Where the heck are my keys?!!!!   Oh, they’re on the floor and  in my husband’s jeans that he wore yesterday, where else would they be?  Where are the baby’s shoes?!  One is in the yard and one is in the toy box, of course!

It’s even more complicated with young children who can’t dress or fend for themselves.  The 5, nearly 6-year-old is pretty capable of dressing himself by now, except he needs constant motivation to continue the process.  For example, he’ll put on his pants and then I find him playing in his room shirtless, sockless, shoeless.   The baby is obviously dependent on me, so there’s nothing I can say about that, other then the obligatory diaper blowout when we’re running late for something we absolutely can not be late for.   I have a doctor appointment this morning, so I help the boy finish putting on socks that suddenly grew too tight overnight  and get his shoes on the right feet, and leave to dress baby.  I hear the boy go outside, good start- easier to wrangle towards the car.  I finish dressing baby and I grab keys and bag, lock the door, and head to the car.  As we walk up the stairs, “Where Are Your Shoes?!” I can feel myself turning into a Screaming Mimi.  Set the baby down, (back starting to get tired) unlock house, locate shoes, scold boy for walking around the yard in white socks.  I finish and see baby girl sitting in the flower bed gleefully grabbing handfuls of dirt.  I scoop up baby, dust her off & continue to the car, while barking “Go, go, go” like a drill sergeant to the boy, who is suddenly interested in every ant hill and piece of vegetation in our yard on the way to the driveway.   I’m hollering “Get in the car, Get in the car, Get in the car!”  The neighbors probably think I’m the meanest mom ever, but in my defense, when you have a child with ADHD, it happens on occasion that their brains are so busy taking in information from all around them and trying to process it, that you have to repeat something to them over and over before they actually hear it.   I climb into the car and buckle baby girl into her car seat while trying to coerce the boy to get into his and buckle up.  He can only buckle himself in when we’re not in a hurry, by the way.  I’m sweating now.  I drive, pressing the speed limit as far as I dare.  I get caught behind an elderly couple meandering their way through town driving 5 mph under the speed limit.  We arrive to my doctor appointment, I hustle the kids into the building, check in.   We’re 10 mins early.  My appointment was at 10:30, not 10:15.  Mimi sits down in the waiting room, catches her breath, and apologizes to the kids.

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It’s Mom O’Clock somewhere

Every evening, at around 9 o’clock, I shuffle off the mom-suit and I shift back into a fully functioning human being, just when all my friends are hunkering down for the night.  I’m ready for adult conversations that I can actually listen to.  I am finally able to form a complete uninterrupted thought now that there aren’t children vying for my attention, playing in the cat bowl, spraying me with the hose, pulling good flowers from the flowerbed, leaving the gate open for baby to escape, squealing just to squeal…  I’m all ears, ready to listen, I can talk now.  Anybody?