The problem, the pediatrician said to me, is that we have to rely on ADHD parents to help their ADHD child. Oh.
I just stared at the doctor. I almost said “Can we rely on someone else?” But instead I said “I can’t find my wallet.”
My son and I have so much in common. We like the same books, have the same sense of humor, like almost all the same shows, have the same taste in music. And we both have ADHD. We “get” each other.
Don’t worry….this is not going to be what my husband calls “psychobabble.”
Attention Deficit issues are manifested differently in boys and girls, plus everybody is different anyway. It didn’t occur to me that we both had a…… condition? issues? lovable personality quirks?…..until that pediatric appointment.
I definitely have the attention span of a gnat and I’ve written about it here before. But so does my son. And this inherited streak weaves in and out of our relationship in marvelous ways.
When Steve was in 4th grade, he had a teacher who was
humor deprived somewhat serious for an elementary school teacher. One day she called me up, and was very irate, to tell me that my son had gotten up in the middle of class and conducted a survey. He walked up to each student and asked them their middle names and checked to see how many of their middle names corresponded with his cousins’ first names. When his teacher told me the story, I burst out laughing.
I know, I know, wrong reaction. I’m a teacher, for heaven’s sake. I quickly agreed with her that no it really wasn’t funny and that I shouldn’t have laughed. I commiserated with her that it must have been very disruptive and annoying, but secretly I did think it was funny. Yet it was also a big clue that he was having trouble focusing.
When he was in 6th grade, I happily went to back-to-school night. I knew my son liked school, had friends, I knew how smart he is although his grades didn’t always reflect that (visions of the 4th grade survey still darted around in my head). The homeroom teacher greeted us at the classroom door and efficiently handed each parent a short stack of papers, with the PTA sign-up form on top. We could sit anywhere, so I sat next to the mother of one of his classmates with whom I was friendly. We started chatting and the teacher said to me “Excuse me, but we need to get started now.” My first thought was please, God, make sure I never sound like that. I quickly squelched it and realized that everyone was filling out the PTA form.
Glancing at my little pile of papers, I saw that the PTA form had disappeared. I looked through the papers, looked under the desk, around the desk, not being aware that the teacher was speaking. Then I turned to the parents seated around me and asked them if they had seen my PTA form. The teacher stopped talking. That’s when I realized that there was complete silence in the room. His teacher said to me “Are you Stephen’s mom?”
This night was not over, however. Just in case any of you are worrying on my behalf, she coughed up another form and I did successfully join the PTA. We heard about all the classes, art and music periods, class rules, etc. Then we wrote cute little letters to our kids. Their desks had their names on them and they had left their parents a cute something and left it in their desks for us.
His looked like a bomb went off inside it. Papers shoved in there, food, crumpled I-don’t-know-whats. I looked around and everyone else had perfect little Stepford Wives desks. I shoveled through it all and found his letter and left mine for him.
We are now taking a short break so all of my co-workers can spit their coffee out while reading this because my desk at work is a nightmare both inside and out.
Steve and I are Little Einsteins.
Because where there is a will, there is a way, I learned some tricks to help Steve, which also helped me. I labeled bureau drawers, I put a small basket on the kitchen windowsill and 20 years later I still automatically put my keys there as soon as I walk into the house. At the doctor’s suggestion, I put a big basket right by the door so my son could empty out his book bag immediately. You’d be surprised how many forms and notices schools send home once you get to actually see them. It’s much easier today with everything online.
It’s very frustrating to constantly lose things, forget things, miss things and it is exceptionally irritating to family members. As my oldest daughter said one time at a trip to the mall when I couldn’t remember where I had parked the car, “I feel like the staff member when I’m out with you guys!”
While we have the normal periodic annoyances that are present in any mother/son relationship, Steve and I always have patience with the ADHD part of each other’s personalities. We help each other remember things, find things, and can laugh with and at each other.
Because we’re 2 peas in a pod.