Shout out to Blunderdad – a comment I made on his blog reminded me of the banana story which led to……
The First Day of School. Middle School.
Me: Son, go get your book bag from the closet so I can pack it.
Son: Which closet?
Me: How do I know where you put it in June? Maybe it’s under your bed.
Son: Found it…..Eeeewww.
Me: What’s eeewwww?
Son: It has liquid in it.
Me: Let me see it. Eeewwww. Did that used to be a banana? Omg, I think that used to be a banana.
What kind of mother doesn’t check the book bag from the last day of school until the first day of the next school year? A mother with ADD. I don’t remember what we did for a book bag that day. I do remember draining the backpack and throwing it out.
A couple of weeks later was Back-to-School night. The homeroom teacher met the parents at the door and handed each of us a short stack of important papers to be signed and info to be memorized. The top one was the PTA form. I went and found a desk and mouthed hi to a few other moms. Then the teacher asked us to take the PTA form and begin to fill it out. Mine was no longer on the top of my little pile of papers. How could I have lost it? I literally only walked 6 feet. So I looked around on the floor. I looked under the desk. I started asking the parents around me if they had seen it. All of this was going on while the teacher was giving the directions. The PTA form had completely disappeared. I then realized that the room was silent and everyone was looking at me. The teacher said “You must be Son’s mother.” Yes. Yes I am.
I think at that moment I realized that yes, he is exactly like me. Except I could focus much better at school. I was the kid in the front row with her hand waving around wanting to answer all the questions (until high school when I hoped the science teachers would forget I existed). I just couldn’t find my locker.
Son could not focus in school. Son did not know what they were studying in social studies. I lost my patience with him one day and said when you look at the pictures in the textbook do they look like your dad? Then you’re studying Viet Nam. Do they have white wigs? Then it’s the American Revolution. Son was not pleased with me.
All this was discussed with the doctor at Son’s annual physical. The doctor said that it sounded like we both had ADD or ADHD. I said “excuse me?” Because I was noticing a car that looked a lot like mine driving into the parking lot and I thought that was such a coincidence. The doctor said “exactly.” He said the hardest thing about helping kids with attention deficit disorders was that you had to rely on parents with attention deficit disorders to help them. Oops.
So the doctor gave me some really concrete things to do. I wrote them down, like I write down blog ideas now when they come to me and I’m in the laundry room. Usually in the nanosecond that it takes me to reach for my phone to write the idea in the little notebook app, I can still remember the idea. But to refocus, the doctor gave me concrete ideas. Such as every time I walk into the house I should immediately walk to a specific spot and drop the keys there. Every time. So I got a little tiny basket and put it on the sill in the kitchen and to this day put my keys in there when I get home. Usually.
He suggested that I put a basket on the kitchen counter right by the door so that when Son came home from school, as soon as he got in the door he could dump his book bag upside down into the basket and I could sort out clean/dirty, important/garbage, identifiable/unidentifiable. It pretty much worked. He suggested that I label bureau drawers, shelves in the closet, stuff like that. That worked really well for him. There were other suggestions, but those were the biggies that I can think of right now.
Student 1: Your phone is over there.
Student 2 simultaneously: Your bag is over there.
What kind of teacher doesn’t know where her phone, glasses or bag are?
A teacher with ADD.