paying attention part 1: diagnosis

“Come on, Buddy!  Pay attention!”

“You know, ” I said to the Golfer later on, after the homework struggles had passed, the kitchen was clean, and the boys were in bed.  “We’re going to have to stop saying that.”

More than once we had uttered that phrase.  More like 30 or 40 times a day.  While doing homework.  While tying his shoes. While listening to a bedtime story.  He wasn’t paying attention.

I had started to worry.  Was he becoming defiant?  Was he turning into a difficult child?  (A turd head as we call them in our family?)  Did he not respect us?  Did he not care what we had to say or wanted him to do?

No.  Every time we asked ourselves those questions, we knew the answer was “no”.  He is a good boy.  A pleaser.  He is a good citizenship winner.  A delight.  But he had also become an extremely frustrating child to parent.  The frustration!  Oh my goodness the frustration was turning me, his mother, the woman who had to be cut in half to remove his 7 pound 11 ounce body, into a Bad Mommy.

“Why can’t you pay attention!?!”

I had yelled it.  I had whispered it in desperation.  I had said it through gritted teeth.  Over and over and over again.  Bad Mommy.  Capital B.  Capital M.

But (it’s there always a big “but” in these kinds of situations?) it wasn’t that he wouldn’t pay attention.  It was that he couldn’t pay attention.  The Big Cheese, with his cute glasses, big teeth and enormous creative imagination was driving us crazy.  But (there it is again) his mind wasn’t working correctly.

We didn’t know that.

After two teacher conferences and a doctor’s visit later, we were slammed with a new family reality.

Our son has ADD.

But I should probably start at the beginning.

Which is what I’ll do here.  The weird thing is, I really don’t feel like “chatting” about it.  I don’t want to be one of those women–one of those women that openly shares with anyone at Starbucks who will listen–that her child has ADD.  I don’t want to look at another parent’s face while I’m sharing my son’s story and wonder what they’re thinking.  So that’s why I’ll share it here.  Little bits, over time.  To document.  To process.  To make sense of the shifts in our parenting, the decisions to medicate, the choices of therapy, all while still making time for T-ball and golf and LEGOS and life in general.

More to come…

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