Take a whiff of Sista Smiff and you'll come back for more, that's fo sho!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Out of the Box

The house was extremely quiet yesterday and this morning. #2 went home with Grandma after lunch yesterday and stayed on to spend the night because Mr. Smiff is flying back from California as we speak and I had to be at work early this morning.

I can't tell you how eerily, oddly quiet it is without #2 around. Anytime, any of my Trio is missing, the whole rythym and noise level is a lot lower, but, when #2 isn't there, it's even much more so. It's not because he is so difficult, or misbehaves or is bad or anything like that. He has such a spirited presence and he can be quite loud but the house without the #2 Vibe is just so strange.

#2 is clinically ADHD. I was not surprised to find this out in February 2005 when he got his official diagnosis. I was not surprised when Dr. Couch gave me the list of symptoms of ADHD that said "If your child has some of these" and I counted twenty-something symptoms and #2...well, he has nearly every single one.

I knew when the second day he was in Kindergarten and he disappeared from the cafeteria during lunch and his teacher found him out in the hallway, cutting a rug, that we might have a little problem. (When I asked him why he left the cafeteria, he said " I HAD to dance!")

I knew #2 was going to have to learn to work around this when his Kindergarten teacher, exasperated, suggested we send him back to preschool. Apparently, even though she had taught 27 years (as she loved to brag) she had never had an out of the box kinda kid like #2. Luckily, we did not take her advice and his good humor, attitude and Buddy the Elf-ness of him made the Kindergarten teacher, 1st grade teacher and 2nd grade teacher fall completely in love with him.

In spite of the love, he does sometimes have to have an aide sit with him to help keep him on task. Every year, I pray that the next teacher will "get" him and be patient with him. Academically, he does very well and I hope some of his symptoms will ease as he approaches middle school age, but, I realize (like so many of his relatives before him, including his mother) some of it, he will have to learn to work around and in spite of.

His attitude is so good (usually, he does have his moments) that Christmas before last...we're putting the Christmas tree up. The other two kids are a little less consistent with happy, sunny attitudes and with the Smiff's, we tend to have an argument regardless of what we're doing. We're having a little tiff as to what ornament goes where and me and the other two are going back and forth, verbally to the point Mr. Smiff had to intervene and smack dab in the middle of it all, #2 shouts, in best Buddy the Elf voice, "This is gonna be the BEST Christmas EVER!" And he was being 100% serious!!!!!

All that to say that when #2 isn't around it's a void. He is one of the funniest, happiest people I know. He is about to be 8 years old but still likes to sit on my lap, still has to check out every restroom in every restaurant we go to (umpteen times a visit), still has trouble tying his shoe and I still spend a lot of grocery store time trying to find him.

While I did enjoy taking a Sunday afternoon nap without #2 jumping on the bed, asking me to scratch his back and put it on On Demand so he could watch Johnny Brave or the Flintstones with me (amazing to me he enjoys watching that with me. Go figya) it just isn't the same when #2's not there. Posted by Picasa


Blogarita said...

I hope you enjoyed the quiet. And then enjoyed the activity when #2 returned!

Malia said...

He'd have fun checking out the restrooms at the Mothership, huh?

SistaSmiff said...

This is the child that will claim he needs to go to the bathroom at our local video store so he can go by the shelf with the adult movies in the back. No Mothership for him!!!!

saraclark said...

If I had a nickel for everytime my mother emphasized the term "slow down and concentrate" with me I'd be a millionaire.
Because you know somehow, magically we didn't have ADHD back in the old days. I still score off the charts on an adult level, but I work very hard to manage my attention and structure my work habits.
The phrase in our house is that I have the attention span of a circus monkey on crack. There is no such thing as a straight line of thought for me, it's very zigzag and herky jerky. But I'm fun though! and so #2 will be also.

SistaSmiff said...

Well, I've never been tested but am pretty well sho nuff I've got it. I think my dad had it. I didn't have the hyper part and plus in the 70's and 80's if you didnt cause trouble and weren't a boy, there was not even a thought about it.

Granny Pam said...

Well, whatever "it" is, I've got some of the symptoms also. I remember one of my daughters telling me when I asked her to calm down for a few minutes, "but my insides are spinning around and around". I remember a little of the past few years, when nothing I've done has been without numerous detours. I suspect that #2 has great potential and will be sucessful due, in part, to having patient, understanding parents. Hang in there, it's worth it.

Tony Arnold said...

I admire the way you choose to handle the ADHD condition. Work to channel and instruct versus coping out to nothing but sedation.

Good for you.

Don't get me wrong, I know medication can be helpful in cases of ADHD, but I have seen some resort to a total over-medication solution, because it was easier on them.


SistaSmiff said...

He does take medication. He's not taking it this summer, though. His doctor wanted to see where he is without it and evaluate him when school starts. He asks for his pill everyday though. He says he feels better when he has it. He says "I feel wiiiiild!"

Anonymous said...

That is one of the sweetest things that I have ever read. You are a great mother.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if you and several other family members also show similar symptoms. ADHD has a very strong hereditary component, and it's not uncommon for parents to discover it in themselves when their kids are diagnosed (of course, this would also explain why some parents go into complete denial, because admitting that their child needs help would also mean admitting that they need help). Even if you've got your issues well under control, you can definitely learn a lot of useful strategies for yourself in the process of helping your kids, and as it becomes more and more clear that many people don't really outgrow the symptoms, resources for Adults with ADHD are expanding.

If you haven't already, you should definitely pick up a copy of Hallowell&Ratey's "Delivered from Distraction" (previous versions were titled "Driven to Distraction") as well as "You mean I'm not Lazy, Crazy, or Stupid?" by an author whose name I have forgotten.

friendly advice from someone who's been there

SistaSmiff said...

I've taken those online tests and seem to fall right into the category, which is not surprising to me.

I was sent to 2nd grade in 1st for reading class...me and one other kid did that. I knew then I wasn't dumb. Something happened and I was informed I was "bad at math" in about 4th grade. It went downhill in middle school. I hated school and I myself couldn't understand why I couldn't pass a class. I was told I was lazy, stupid, all those things. I hated school, I withdrew and my teen years were basically miserable. Nobody was hard on me. I wasn't bullied, except I bullied myself so bad.

I did switch high schools in 11th grade and my social life improved and I loved it. My grades were still bad and here I was, with a photographic memory and a love of history, taking remedial classes, sure I was stupid. I knew I'd be in high school forever so I dropped out and got my GED.

They didn't have the tools to diagnose ADD back then and I've had to swing by the best I can. I'm the most disorganized person you'd ever meet, yet probably one of the funner people you'd meet.I've thought about talking to the doctor about it, but, doctors intimidate me and tend to blow off things I say (that's my excuse this week) so I don't say anything.

If my father didn't have it, he missed his calling. My sister's son has it as well.

Sonia said...

yOUR 8 yr old sounds like a great kid! He sounds like my 8 yr old...except my 8 yr old isn't happy/funny. He has a bit of an anger issue. I've taken those online ADD quizes, and it says i'm definately ADD. No surprise. I know my brain. I think most creative people are A.D.D.

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