I have suspected for some time that Mica, my almost 7-year-old daughter, has ADD or ADHD. It is a genetic “disorder” and in runs in both sides of her family. She has extreme difficulty focusing on and completing simple tasks such as getting ready in the morning and at night, doing homework, eating, and doing chores. These tasks consume nearly every free moment she has and is stressful not only for her but for those in charge. It is exasperating as a parent to try to get things accomplished.
The problem was first brought to my attention when she was 4 years old. Maybe I hadn’t noticed before because I was a stay-at-home mom and she was my first child and it was pretty early to notice symptoms. Looking back on it, we did have a pretty relaxed schedule. If we got interrupted while doing something, it was no big deal. In fact I would encourage it for learning purposes. For example, if we were having lunch together and we heard an unusual noise, we would go “investigate” and just go back to eating later.
So when her preschool teachers said she was on “Mica Time,” I didn’t think of it as much of a problem. (I even have a song entitled “Mica Time” about how nice it must be to not be worried about time.) Yes, we experienced some frustrations getting ready but I usually handled it pretty well. I just made sure she got up early and promised to reward her with a game before school if she was ready early. We actually had a lot of fun during those days playing hide-and-seek and Candy Land at 8:00 in the morning.
Kindergarten was not as charming of an experience. I got pregnant and very, very ill during the Fall and stayed sick throughout my pregnancy so it was difficult for me to help her in the same way I had before. Add to that the increasing responsibilities that come with elementary school, such as homework and the need to be more independent and organized and we ended up with some chaotic days. Her scholastic grades were excellent but she consistently got “Needs improvement” in the areas of “Completing Class Assignments” and “Uses Time Wisely.” We were advised to use a timer and play the game “beat the clock.” That seemed to work well at first but soon became yet another source of stress.
I was determined that this year, 1st grade would be different. It is different. Different but not better.
I tried to implement a system that would encourage her to be more independent and reward her accomplishments. She had a morning and night check-list and timers for each task. I made her a “Wise Time” chart to try to explain in a visual way that shaving time off remedial tasks would equal more time for play (a concept she clearly grasps but can’t quite achieve). We gave out reward bracelets for meeting goals and prizes once she collected a certain number. She had a morning launch-pad she would prepare the night before. It would have been a great system.
However, the arrival of the multiple babies in the house brought even more opportunities for distraction on all our parts! It was difficult to follow through because she required so much one-on-one attention to focus.
Although her general pediatrician was unable to definitively diagnosis her, she instructed us to see a psychologist, and her school has started the process of evaluation, which will take approximately 10 weeks.
In the meantime, we’ll just keep on keepin’ on…
Double Talk Quote: “Please stop rushing me.” – Mica says this every day, usually more than once.
Verse: “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8
Word that has Lost its meaning: focus
Relatable Lyrics: “Tired of Waiting for You” by The Kinks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLAuxLqln5s
(March 4, 2015 – twins 8 months)