“Are we normal?” That’s the question my 19 year old daughter asked me this afternoon. Her question was inspired by our behavior a few minutes prior. She has a cat that she absolutely adores (and that the rest of the family tolerates), and she likes to play a game with us where we all stand and gaze admiringly at the cat and comment on how wonderful he is. It’s a game because we refuse to do it, and she has to try and trick us into just looking at him, much less complimenting him.
Well, she was trying to get me to look at the cat, and I was resisting (and losing), so I called for help. In rushes her dad, broom in hand, brushing at her legs and yelling “spider!”, which of course made her scream and try to jump away. Did I mention we’re all adults? The neighbors must wonder about us.
Three adults, all over the age of 18, all acting about, what? Nine?
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, everyone in our house has Attention Deficit Disorder. This means several things, in relation to this story:
- We can be spontaneous and child-like. Sometimes, like today, there’s no harm done. Just a bit of silly play. Other times, though, it can have not so charming consequences. The paper towel commercial with the kid squirting orange soda at his mom comes to mind. In the commercial, of course, the mom looks at it as fun, but we all know how that scene would play in real life (even in my house). The words “what were you thinking” come to mind, followed by “of course, you weren’t thinking”.
- We are creatve thinkers. Who else can make a game out of a 14 year old cat and a broom, not to mention imaginary spiders? It’s important sometimes to see the creativity behind the actions, especially if you are blessed with a number of those “what were you thinking” moments.
- We can be as much as 2-5 years behind our peers on a social and/or emotional level. Again, today’s little minute of play was nothing more than that, but it helps to illustrate the point. If you see your child acting in a manner inappropriate for their age, give this some fact some thought and see if it might apply. Here’s an example: when my daughter was in high school, she used to moan and groan all the time because boys didn’t like her, and she didn’t have a boyfriend. The truth was, she was terrified of boys (her father wishes she had never outgrown this one). Whenever a boy exhibited the slightest interest in her, she would run the other way as fast as she could. She just wasn’t ready emotionally. You may see the same kind of thing when your child is transitioning to middle school, high school, or even college.
So, this afternoon, when my daughter asked, “Are we normal?”, my answer was “no – I don’t think normal people do these things. But then, I don’t think they have as much fun, either.”
Living with ADD/ADHD, either as a child or a parent, can be difficult. It can also be fun once in a while, if you learn to lighten up and enjoy it.