Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Me, Mom?

Yesterday was Jonas's annual physical with his pediatrician. We spent a lot of time discussing his ADHD, it's impacts and our successes and failures in managing it. It was a good conversation and, as he gets older, Jonas is more and more involved in these chats. I'm glad he's reached a stage now where he can share his perspective and experience with us.

While we were driving home, he asked me, "Mom, why did I get ADHD?" Kids and their big questions! He asked in the way he does when he's not upset about anything, just trying to figure out how something works, so I took that as a sign that he wanted a answers from me rather than probbing and listening.
I explained that nobody really knows why some people get ADHD and others don't, but that most doctors and scientists thinks that kids get ADHD because their parents have it. "But you and Dad don't have it," he said. "Ah, but we do," I said. He was stunned and asked "Really?!"

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! I told him that both Steve and I have ADHD, but that we didn't know it until we started figuring out that he does. When we were his age, people didn't know about ADHD so we didn't get help to deal with it, instead we just got in trouble and had to face the consequences when we didn't act properly. "I hate consequences," he replied. "Me too," I agreed.

He still didn't believe me so I reminded him that even though we have a central family planning centre in the kitchen, I have notes and lists and calendars all over the house, I still forget stuff all the time. I pointed out how Steve always gets frustrated with me because I can't sit still at home, that I do try to do things as soon as I think of it instead of leaving it until later, but still forget stuff all the time. I often don't stick to our plans because something else grabs my attention, I'm easily distracted and (feigning indignation) that some people think I talk too much.

As he listened, a smile crept across his face. "You sound just like me!" he exclaimed. After thinking for a little bit, he said, "Mom, how can I get as good as you at having ADHD?" That broke my heart a little bit. I told him that I am not a master and that it's not easy for me either. Being careful not to take away his hope, I also told him that it did easier as I grew up. I said that I know he can learn the tricks that we use to manage it and that I bet that come up with his own even better ways that he can teach us.

Then I reminded him that ADHD is only a part of who he is and that he's darn pretty amazing. I told him that he's creative and fun and a joy to be around. He's thoughtful, considerate and caring. He's sensitive and smart, energetic and funny. I also said that ADHD might be something that's actually a blessing rather than a curse because it means he's not bor-ing. That made him giggle. Before I finished, I threw in that I think he is just plain awesome (a phrase a stole from his pediatrician early in the day), that he's one of the coolest kids I know, and that as far as I know, everyone who really knows him thinks so too.

Before he moved onto the next topic, he finished with one last train of thought that I couldn't help but smile at. He said "Mom, if my little sister gets ADHD too, I can help her learn all the tricks that I know. And I can stick up for her too!"

Love that kiddo!

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