Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just ADD water

Carly, my roommate from college (and best buddy of course) said something to me that has become a motto for our household; “You can’t teach someone to have fire.”

I think about these words almost every single day. To say that Russell is a challenge would be an understatement but also unfair to him. His vigor and charm goes hand in hand with his scheming and twitching. It’s a package deal and I LOVE This Kid just the way he is.


So here’s the deal, I’m reading Driven To Distraction and this paragraph about the fictional boy Max and his family jumped out at me;

“In contrast to the time…he looked at him as a baby in the hospital, Max’s father now just hoped and prayed that Max could survive this cruel world, that he would find some niche for himself where his creativity and good nature were rewarded and his gargantuan carelessness and irresponsibility not get him fired”

When I read that to Jon we looked at each other with wide eyes and comic frowns. It’s SO sad and it’s so TRUE. My mom always told me that parenthood will break your heart (then usually goes on to tell me some technique she’s using with the donkey’s that might work for Russell. It usually does.)

So again I find myself talking to Carly and our mommy hearts are breaking for our boys who “Run With Scissors.” It’s selfish but I feel immeasurably cheered by her companionship on this journey. And I want to be clear, while I am the worlds expert on Russell so far, I am not a doctor and if he doesn’t have ADD, great. If he does, okay then. But when I read about hypothetical Max it makes me cringe while feeling closer to finding answers and help and a path. One part reads

“His life however, was not all gloom. For one thing, he was, as his second grade teacher put it ‘chock full of spunk.’ And, as that same teacher said, he was cute as a button. He was smart no doubt about that, and he did love to get into things. He could turn a telephone booth into a playground and a phonebook into a novel.

What Max couldn’t do was behave. Conform. Sit still. Raise his hand. And he didn’t know why he couldn’t … he began to believe the worst; that he was bad, defective, a spaceshot, a dingbat.”

So there you have it, the reason I care, right now, today, if Russell does have ADD, is because the not knowing doesn’t save us, or make it not true. And I am ready for the conversations, the knowledge of those who have come before us, and the support of those treading this ground with us. Page 52 says:

“The earlier the diagnoses can be made, the better the secondary problems can be managed [low self esteem, depression, boredom and frustration with school, fear of learning new things, impaired peer relations], the sooner one can begin the creative process of learning to live with ones brain without the obstacles of moralistic or taunting labels.”

At the end of the day I’m just trying to work this all out. When I went to pick up Russell from his first day at the playtime group that is run over at our local community center and was informed by the woman in charge that it would be his last, well, it makes me feel like Max’s parents who “listened, felt guilty and sighed.”

If I didn’t already suspect that Russell had ADD I never would have even cracked this book in the first place and it saved me that day with gems like “It is not a stagnant phenomenon but a dynamic one, and it’s influence changes over time.” And I have to learn to balance how all of this effects Russell, Jon, Alice and myself. Hopefully with cheer and a grain of salt.


Andrea said...

ADD or not, he has a great advocate. You are a wonderful mom, and he is a blessed little guy.

T + 2 said...
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Tara Boschetti said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! Thank Heavens for Facebook! I'm going to have to get this book for sure!