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Top 10 Reasons I Love Living with Tigger

Top 10 Reasons I Love Living With Tigger

I have to pause sometimes at School Return Time when I’m low on sleep and trying to track with the beautiful ADHD brain that comes home and pitches 1,000 ideas to me at once.

It’s a fascinating mind that can do this. He has my utmost respect and admiration,

but

I have to remind myself to be fully present.

  • To not just “uh-huh” him, to engage with follow-up questions
  • To acknowledge a few of those ideas
  • To affirm that his heart to publish a series of 11 dog adventure stories (with a bubble on the jacket to market my book, LOL–his idea–he even asked me first!) is seen for the kind intentions that go with it

Too many “stop it, slow down, pay attention, settle down, be still”s in his day already. Someone needs to plug in and hear what he is really saying. For anyone who loves a ‪‎special mind‬ out there, here’s something we must be careful of: Monitoring our own frustration levels and responding to a few of those brain races can make a significant difference in those children feeling heard.

The busy, quick-motion ADD/ADHD mind can feel unheard much of the time. Some of it is how they are wired: We might respond, but the ADHD child is already moving on to the next 12 things before he/she gets an answer.

My goal isn’t to be a perfect listener. I couldn’t fully track with the Tigger mind in my house despite my best efforts. But I can do a very simple thing: I can listen for the theme of the moment, and I can respond.

And I can dwell on why living with Tigger is a precious gift that teaches me more about myself and about life than I would otherwise know.

So, here are my Top 10 all-time favorite reasons why I love living with my bouncy-minded, springy-bodied child…

10. ADHD Super Powers. Jump-dancing to a real beat in his head while doing a fluoride rinse while brainstorming ideas for his next dog book while smiling at us while shaking off hair from the haircut I just gave him while humming = ADHD Super Powers, and ADHD Super Powers are to be envied and admired.

9. Multitasking Visionary. He brainstorms like a beast, furiously scribbling down ideas in artwork and words. He’s a visionary who plans to save birds from other animals getting them, run a toy factory, and patent his ideas on how to make and market ant killer before someone else figures out his formula—all at the same time.

8. Fast-Talker. Talking swiftly is an art form to him. He has perfected the art of race conversation. I can’t in any way keep up with it, not even with New York’s finest taxi cab drivers jumping on the highway that is his mind, but I am forever in awe of it. Incessant chatting is also our first clue that attending (focus) is going AWOL. It’s a red flag we’ve grown to appreciate before the spiral into anxiety.

7. The Absent-Minded Professor. Picking up clothes and reminder lists? Who needs to do that when you’re already thinking about ten adventures you’d like to have in the next five minutes? While the rest of us appreciate when he stops leaving evidence of himself draped across all surfaces, there is something to be said for rockin’ it carefree and using the mind for other pursuits.

6. Spontaneity. He’s fun to be around because you never quite know what will come out of his mouth, and it’s often very funny. And yes, sometimes, it’s so impulsive, it’s embarrassing, but I’m learning to be that way too—less uptight and more spontaneous—and I don’t have ADHD. Maybe we’re all more fun now because of Tigger—yeah, I’m pretty sure we are.

5. “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers Is Tiggers Are Wonderful Things!”*  Stairs, couches, and items jumping off of stairs and couches are meant to be enjoyed with enthusiasm and Tarzan-like agility. Why be boring and walk, stride, or amble, when you can bounce indiscriminately all over the house, furniture, wooden and concrete structures, etc.?

4. Practicing Still. No efforts are small. Even the frustrating moments before a timed math test are huge, but in the attempt to decrease distraction, we learn to be more still as a family during times of concentration—not all of the time, but enough to remind ourselves that quiet can be good. We don’t need noise all of the time. Tigger has plenty of that inside his brain. And we all have more than we need of that in our daily lives. “Still” doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we treasure it, and we learn to practice it. And when “still” doesn’t go as planned, we bounce as we process a thought because “the wonderful thing about Tiggers is…” (refer back to No. 5).

3. Celebrating Small Moments. There is victory in not reading the same sentence over and over again and being able to move on to the next one. Focus and concentration are not taken for granted when they don’t come easily, and Tigger is open to celebrating small moments in big ways. We define success differently because of him. It has softened our edges and has made us more understanding of the different forms that accomplishment and achievement can take.

2. New Vocabulary/Keeping Positive. We are learning to take “Be still!” “Sit still!” “Focus!” “Pay attention!” and replace them with words that have more meaning for someone who can’t do those things. We’re learning: “You can do this.” “Take a deep breath.” “One piece at a time.” “I love your mind.” “Wow, great job sticking with the worksheet until you finished it.” Can’t we all use a retake on some of the things we say regularly? Tigger makes us more mindful of what comes out of our mouths.

1. Loud, Risk-Taking Love. Everything about Tigger feels like a loud explosion sometimes: the emotions, the frustrations, the perseveration, the energy level, and the noise. But he also oozes grace and compassion because he knows what it’s like to sit with a weighted lap pad or on a yoga ball at school, to be called out of class for services, to need extra time to process a test, to be told endlessly to start his work. He knows that unwanted spotlight, the pain of disappointing adults over and over again for not meeting expectations, and the longing to not be different. So when another kid is struggling, he has compassion radar the likes of which would shame the best of clergy. He gets it. And he loves deeply, risking big emotionally just as he does in almost every other area of his life to get that intense feedback. He feels in big ways.

Tigger loves out loud, and I can’t imagine not getting to have a front-row seat to that. It’s an incredible honor and a privilege.

These are my particular top 10. What are some of yours about your own Tigger, or, if you have a child/loved one with different struggles, how have you caught glimpses of the blessings inside the challenges? What has he/she taught you that has changed the way you view and approach the everyday?

I’d love to hear from you!

*”The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” was written by Richard Sherman.

More blogs about our journey to loving ADHD can be found here (click and scroll down). The beginning of our ADHD journey (and how our faith in Christ brings us much peace and strength through each challenge) can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day.

**This blog is also featured at Grace & Truth Link-Up, Saturday Soiree, Coffee & Conversation, and Mom 2 Mom Link-Up #23.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2015 in ADHD, Tweens/Children

 

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Tracking with the ADHD Mind: Journey into Incredibleness

Tracking with the ADHD MindI was in the car with my 8 year old son this morning on the way to drop him to school. In the short 10 minute ride, his ADHD mind took me from perfect hairstyles for his waves and curls to new recipes he’d like to try when he opens his own “kitchen” next summer. He also talked about different ways he could get his friends interested in his latest toy subject. He had a plan for so many things.

But his plans were happening simultaneously. It was multitasking on a multi-core microprocessor level. He went so quickly I thought he would heat up and shut down, like my old Mac. I kept waiting for the abrupt blank screen.

And on these drives we have, I admittedly sometimes struggle with it. When I’m in rush hour traffic getting him somewhere, I don’t always enjoy hearing how Obama could take more authority to help people in XYZ ways, or we could get the toilet to flush more efficiently this way, or what do I think if he varies the current Pokémon toys just slightly to get a different customer base when he runs his own toy factory someday. And how about that ant poison recipe he wrote down in secret and made me promise to keep his formula safe? I can often be heard under my breath in a soft whisper: “Oh, God, please make it stop for second so I can drive. I can’t process this right now.”

But Little Man can.

He hears all of the signals of information at once, and from them, he brainstorms nonstop how to make the world a better place.

So, today, when I had a more leisurely drive, I listened better. I needed a full shot of espresso to keep up with him, but it fascinated me. And I suddenly didn’t want to stop him. I didn’t want to tune to just one channel of that amazing mind. I was greedy. I wanted all of his thoughts at once. I wanted him all ADHD-ed out, the pure, original him. For a few minutes, I think I was actually jealous—or at least deeply admiring.

I realize ADHD comes with its struggles and companion diagnoses. I know OCD, anxiety, depression, and learning disabilities often hitch a ride with these phenomenal minds. We have our own struggles with the combo meal served up frequently with ADHD in our house, and they are not easy. If I’m honest, of course, I don’t love those obsessive, wigged-out moments. Not at all.

And I know the level of creativity and intellect can vary with each individual.

I also fully understand why teaching these jet engines can have its challenges, and I support the medication and strategies offered by specialists in the field, when used appropriately.

But I want to listen more when he rattles on without pause. I want to be his stenographer. I am curious which ones, out of the multiple scenarios, solutions, and thought processes going on in his head—if we write them down—stand a chance of being acted upon someday.

Some see it as “mind clutter.” I see it as him hearing the many ideas God gives him at full speed ahead. And I see him racing after them, with great joy at hearing all of that at once.

But the joy stops when he sits down to focus on math problems at a desk for solid amounts of time, or when there is a school assembly he has to be still for. At those moments, he needs to hear one frequency only. And that is very difficult.

But there is a very happy, Tigger-y* bounce when he can be fully himself and run wild after the wind, with God whispering gusts of incredibleness straight through his mind. And his mind can keep up with it all, unlike mine, which would need a butterfly net to hold on to all of those thoughts at once.

And in the moments when we can, I choose joy for him. His jumble of thoughts propels him forward; it excites him about life and everything there is to discover and create. To take that from him all of the time is to erase shades of Little Man—and I love him bursting forth in full color.

For more on viewing ADHD as a blessing in disguise, refer to:

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey
http://www.drhallowell.com
http://www.johnratey.com

Why A.D.H.D. Doesn’t Mean Disaster by Dennis Swanberg, Diane Passno, and Walter L. Larimore
http://www.dennisswanberg.com
http://drwalt.com

Our personal journey through ADHD, OCD, depression, and anxiety can be read about more in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day.

*The Tigger tiger of Winnie the Pooh fame

**This blog has been shared at Pick Your Pin TuesdayA Little R&R Wednesdays, RaRa Link-UpWomen With Intention Wednesdays, Me, Coffee & Jesusand Coffee & Conversation.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2014 in ADHD, Anxiety/OCD/Depression

 

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