I was driving into work this morning, and as my brain is wont to to, my mind started wandering back to when Spawn was a baby. When you’re a first-time mom and you’re dealing with a colicky newborn, the last thing you think about is what kind of personality your kid is going to have. But I started to remember one particular evening, when I was dead on my feet, waiting for a bottle of formula to warm, walking around in a circle on the kitchen floor, holding a wailing, hungry baby and singing Amazing Grace over and over and over. And I just wanted to go back there and tell that Old Me, the one who was about to lose her mind, that in almost 7 years she would be standing around wondering how she was going to face the next big crisis in her kid’s life. Because a colicky newborn? Is a piece of cake. Comparatively speaking.
I wish I could go back and take that screeching kid out of the Old Me’s arms and let the Old Me have a rest. The Now Me could handle the ruckus, since I am now navigating a mine field without a map. And the Now Me would really, really like to go back to the day when Spawn fit comfortably in one hand, on one shoulder, and I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come. Before I knew what kind of Personality that my kid would have.
Spawn is a big personality. Big like my husband’s personality. I’ve been frequenting a website as of late that doesn’t use the labels ADD or ADHD, and instead uses the term “intense.” I’m thinking, that’s a pretty good way to look at it, and it’s a term that I have used to describe the two people I live with, even before I found this site. It’s just the term that leaps to mind when I talk about them. My friends agree, probably because they know how so very Not Intense I am, and in comparison my two kids (the 7 year old and the 42 year old) are forces of nature.
I’m slowly coming to accept that about the both of them. The big one I can’t do anything with, for, or about, so he’s on his own to deal with the world. Or maybe I should say the world deals with him. The little one, the one who doesn’t know jack about the world, well, that’s the one I have to focus on, and help. And while I’m coming to understand the kind of help the kid needs, it’s a process for me, too, to think differently about the kid. To not label the kid with this label, this DSM-IV code that allows the school and society to pigeonhole someone as Troublesome. It’s not troublesome, it’s just different.
Once I started to think about Spawn’s intensity as a positive thing, I started seeing the kid in another light. It was like a switch was thrown in my brain, changing my attitude. That’s not to say that I don’t still want to pinch the kid’s head off about 17 times a week, because I do. Some days it’s all I can do to not just scream at the kid to be more like other kids, kids who are easy to deal with. But I am starting to see that the way Spawn is wired is something that neither one of us can change. All we can do is find ways to work around the more problematic spots.
Yesterday afternoon we had a rare moment of calm contentment, the two of us. Even though I like to bitch and complain about the time change, the niceness of having that extra hour of daytime at the end of the day means that I don’t feel as rushed to get supper on the table, or homework supervised, or bathtime started. I had made Spawn come in out of the rain, and we sat on the swing listening to it rain and petting one of our many cats, eating jelly beans and just Being Together. And it was really nice to soak up the minutes in quiet companionship. I felt a little germ of acceptance begin grow in me. Like, Ok, this is what I’ve got to deal with, this is who Spawn is and it’s my job to see to it that the kid has a big life. Because the kid is going to have a big, full, robust life. No more square peg.
I’ve been rather impatient in trying to get things diagnosed, in trying to find out what it is I’m supposed to be doing to help, and the process has been maddeningly slow. Things like that happen for a reason. There hasn’t been a minute that has gone by in these past few months that I haven’t been ruminating on the subject in one way or another. I’m now starting to see that the snail’s pace of this process has its’ purpose. It’s helping me to come to grips with Whatever It Is that we’ll eventually have to cope with.
Up to this point it’s been me who needs the fixing.
Thanks for reading.
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