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An ADHD Child and His Not-a-Morning-Person Parent

An ADHD Child and His Not-a-Morning-Person Parent
“Hello. My name is Bonnie, and I am not a morning person….Oh, and I have an ADHD child.”

Notice which order I put those in?

I didn’t define myself by my atypical child.

I took ownership of my own issue. = First step to getting honest and dealing with the core issue: me, not my son with ADHD. (For more on my family’s struggles to make sense of ADHD, refer to the section of blogs dedicated to this subject matter and scroll through to see if anything interests you. My Reading List page also has a list of books that I found helpful.)

This blog is about the little morning explosions that happen when you take a very exuberant ADHD child straight out of bed in the morning and combine that with a sleepy mom who hasn’t had her coffee yet and barely got the first two kids out the door on their earlier buses. The Not-a-Morning-Person Mom. That one.

And it’s also about why I’m the one who has to change.

My almost-nine-year-old Tigger bounces out of bed like a ping pong ball shooting aimlessly around to eventually make it into the right slot—except that, in his head, he isn’t aimless. He’s accomplishing (or attempting to) about 12 things and processing many new ideas at once.

And…he’s eager to share them.

At 7 AM.

Contrast that with my sleepy mind that floated through the past 40 minutes getting the secondary school kids in my house out the door, and I’m still trying to retrieve the thought as to whether or not I packed both of those lunches, and did I tell them I wouldn’t be here right when they got home today?

I might even be thinking about the laundry. The pile of dishes I left last night. The fact I still have yet another lunch and snack to pack. And have I even stopped to use the bathroom this morning?

Is the coffee machine on? Did anyone turn it on yet?

While I’m still on Thought One and a Half, along comes my delightful, hyper, mostly happy youngest son who wants to share every thought in his head.

Right now.

Before coffee.

And I’m an introvert who not only hates morning but thrives on quiet in order to function and process.

“Oh, God, this is where I always feel like I fail.”

And I can get all grumbly, whiny, snappy, snarly, and inward right now. I can certainly get my selfish on. And I regularly do. But his disorder is here to stay. He can’t wish it away. He can “work on” coping skills and body regulation,

but he can’t stop having ADHD.

But I can find ways not to be grumbly, Not-a-Morning-Person, impatient Mom. I can go to bed and get up earlier. Start the coffee sooner. I can ask God to help me handle the bounce of life, energy, and mind from 7 AM until school drop-off. I have the warm hand of Jesus to hold. I can consult Him. I do not have to fail if I ask for His help. The thing is: I will fail if I don’t. I might stumble along and get a few things right now and again, but without the faith that God is carrying us both through these moments without wounds and fallout, I will not be whom I need to be for my son.

Since I pretty much analogize in coffee in my sleep, I will now share one here. (Aren’t you glad I don’t express these analogies in every blog?–wink!) I was thinking that my Little Man is like the air bubbles being blasted into the milk to make a nice frothy topper to the espresso drink. He comes in with full force and makes something flat and boring like milk burst into foamy, airy bubbles that soar above the dark espresso.

I’m the dark espresso…melancholic and weary, heavy and pensive in the morning, and in comes Mr. Bubbles of Life to make the drink more interesting, more varied, lighter. I am the strength under the foam, perhaps, but my strength can either encourage and support that lovely foam, or I can flatten it back to ordinary hot milk, with no vim and vigor—How boring!

My words and my attitude are choices. I can choose to see him as a complement to my personality and embrace the gift of us blended together in the wee, challenging hours of the morning, or I can squash his spirit, his mind, his heart.

It helps to get honest. I hope, if you have similar struggles as a parent (with either typical or atypical children), that you can feel some camaraderie in the struggle in my “get real” moment. I find that being honest about the journey brings me fresh perspective and offers hope that I can do better—not perfect, but better.

I want to “delight in blessing” every chance that I get. I want to “spring forth fresh water” and not muddy it up with my own salty murkiness.

How about you? How do you cope with these struggles? I’d love to hear from you.

James 3:9-12, James, brother of Jesus speaking, ESV

With it [tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

Psalm 109:17-18, David (not yet king) speaking, ESV

He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat;
may it soak into his body like water,
like oil into his bones!

 

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Taking the Word “Limitation” out of Our Vocabulary

Taking the Word “Limitation” out of Our Vocabulary

The other day the sweet mother of one of my son’s friends told me after a playdate that my son has a real “calming/mellowing effect” on her son.

Um, what now?

This is my Hyper Tigger—the one with ADHD. “Calming,” did you say? Most days I do not feel calm in his presence. He bounces around and brings endless joy, but he isn’t exactly what I’d call

still

or

calm.

Surely she’s confusing which parent I am.

But that was my first mistake: thinking that my son couldn’t be strong in an area of weakness.

What looks like a limitation from one angle is usually a blessing from another. Why couldn’t he be soothing to someone else? Why does hyper have to define him 24/7?

Does it?

My second mistake was not believing her the first time. This is the second time she has told me that. I doubted my own son because of my own limited experience and the label put on him.

You know what I see in that? God working through our weaknesses. They don’t have to be limitations when we are willing to see the labels of man as just that: “labels.” I had new appreciation for my limited view into the future when really I have no clue what weaknesses will be used for good or become strengths over time.

Who is to say a socially awkward child doesn’t turn out to be an amazing therapist, minister, salesperson?

Do fine motor strength issues rule out a future in surgery or art?

Does a struggle to read in early intervention years mean someone can’t end up a teacher—or a writer?

What about a speech delay or impediment? Does that mean no public speaking?

My poor spelling child works harder than either of my other two kids. A love of reading would have helped, but this child didn’t read as easily. Because of hard work in this area, this one may surpass us all.

So it made me ask myself: Why do we stop ourselves in the middle of the road (where labels weigh us down), accept what is given, and not consider getting across it?

If my father had accepted the first prognosis from the first medical professional 34 years ago with his first cancer, he would have welcomed a death sentence: terminal. Um, he’s still here.

He decided to cross the road.

I am socially anxious and very inward. Some days I have to talk myself into leaving the house, and yet, when I am where God wants me to be, with the people He wants me to either learn from, receive from, or minister to, He makes it easy. Suddenly, I’m not such a buffoon. I have some right words to say. And I walk away knowing something more about Him and about what amazing paths I can travel down when I don’t stop right where someone told me I had to because I wasn’t “strong” in that area.

I challenge us all to find where we have believed a label as a permanent mark on our lives, where we have sat in the middle of the road accepting our plot.

I’d like to suggest that permanent mark should be considered more of a washable marker. It’s movable, sometimes—but not always removable. It doesn’t have to stay there. Sometimes we can push it further. Sometimes we can push it entirely off.

Does that mean we will change every diagnosis? Every handicap? Every disease?

Not necessarily, but it does mean we look beyond it and see where we can act in spite of what was spoken to us. I have a dear friend fighting to raise money and awareness for her Type 1 Diabetic child. Do you think as a mother she is accepting that diagnosis and just rolling over and taking it? No. No, she is not. Another friend was told her child would not likely walk. She didn’t accept that. Friends beating up cancer with everything in them. Friends hoping and praying their “on the spectrum” children become functional adults, able to hold jobs and maybe even have families someday. A severely autistic child who writes amazing poetry. Folks climbing out of addiction and hoping their day count of sobriety continues to climb.

For me, because of my faith, I call in the impossible because I’ve seen too many very real, modern day miracles to think God can’t and doesn’t still move in our lives when we ask.

For me, limitations are just invitations to ask Him to wow the world with what He can do.

I realize I’m not the first to write on this. I also know some of us are sitting in the middle of the road still, heavy and weighted down, not sure how to get up and move on. I also know not everyone reading this shares my faith in Christ.

But can we agree to get out of the road where circumstances, prognoses, medical professionals, special education staff, teachers, family members, tests, etc., dropped some kind of definitive statement on us, and can we start walking to the other side?

Because when we stay stuck in those labels, those definitions, we end up getting hit by everything else coming down that road. We get beat up, discouraged, worn down, until hope is roadkill flattened in front of us, and we’re left to peel it off the pavement just to get some of it back.

When I am in that place, I want people to hold my hand and remind me to finish crossing, to be bold, to hold on, to pray for promise and hope. And I want to be the warm hand helping others look beyond these things.

Why can’t my Tigger nurture, calm, and settle another little soul his age? Why is it so hard to believe he is defined by far more than ADHD, and why wouldn’t God want to show the world His glory by working through how we see Little Man and showing us what is possible if only we’d believe?

I don’t know, but this one innocent, yet powerful statement from this sweet mother taught me everything I need to know to get out of the road right now. Will you come with me? It’s much better on the other side, where hope and possibility reside.

Luke 1:36-37, an angel of the Lord talking to Mary, telling her she would have a son, ESV
“And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Luke 18:27, Jesus speaking, ESV
But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Apostle Paul speaking, ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in ADHD, Renewing Our Minds

 

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