ADHD Parenting, Part II

Meow, it’s Hello Kitty again. Look an ADDle-brained kitteh!  I’m back to update my parenting of two ADHD sons.

First, Victor has graduated, so that’s tremendous relief and joy for all of the Hello Kitty clan. As a young man, he seems to have a pretty good handle on being a responsible, independent adult. Sometimes when he forgets or ignores tasks– ones that seem important to his parents, Mr. Kitty and I–  it may mean that he is simply being a teenager, and not just having moments of inattention or distractability.

My focus in on Ezra now. He graduated from middle school– or “moved up” as it is called in his private school– into Upper School. Yikes, didn’t I just finish high school with one boy? Is this deja vu all over again? Yes and no. Ezra is a different creature, a different child and person, and most importantly, I’ve had four years of experience under my belt herding the other son through his ADHD challenges.

If I seem preoccupied about their learning differences it’s because most of my daily energy is spent accommodating my own inattentive ADHD. My days have seven hours of bliss when my Adderall keeps me focused and efficient, but for the other waking hours I am fumbling and stumbling along unaided. My husband is frustrated, I know, because he is a very organized, efficient, fastidious, precise man. Culturally it’s still difficult for him to fully embrace the recommended solutions (accommodations)–he is not American nor American raised– that help ADHD challenged people. These methods come across as privileges, sometimes excuses even, to not pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps. Nonsense. My husband tries his hardest, but he is a product of his Japanese culture and educational background.

Today we will have a medication consultation with Ezra’s doctor. It’s time for meds. Unlike Victor, Ezra is rather ambitious about his academic career, although he doesn’t have his future vocation selected. (Victor hopes to be “richer than Mark Zuckerberg” in the tech world.) He needs moderate nudging and reminding to understand what work he needs to finish. After taking a short-acting pill Ezra enters “the zone,” and can whip through multiple tasks with efficiency and neatness. His other challenging traits can be easily worked around with adjustments to scheduling, reminders, and note taking.

Although we are on school break now, both sons actually have homework. Our family is planning a trip to Japan this summer with Mr. Kitty’s family, so the grandchildren can understand their cultural roots. Grandpa has assigned each grandson to research a particular city for its cultural significance, historical background, and specialties, such as local delicacies and landmarks. Victor will do a bang-up job, although his work will arrive at the eleventh hour. He understands what’s at stake, what needs to be done with a minimum of expended energy to produce good results. Victor is also very clever in using available resources.

Ezra is somewhat overwhelmed I believe. To the uninitiated eye, Ezra is procrastinating and ignoring his duties. I know my husband views this task as an exercise in self-discipline, but I’m gonna draw the line and say it can’t be done the way everything is presently set up. It’s basically a mini research project, one that Ezra is hesitant to tackle because he just finished school a week ago. However as unfair as it may seem I, the mother, also know that it’s better to tackle and complete this task before the summer doldrums truly set into his brain and body. Experience is on my side and this is my third time at this rodeo.  Also I support the project because it is a way for him to honor his grandparents and his cultural roots. Once we get his official meds prescription he’ll be in great shape. The meds aren’t a crutch or excuse. I view Ezra’s mind as a car stuck in second gear and whose power steering has been disabled. A dose of meds is like activating the proper steering power and kicking the car into overdrive. He can’t be expected to race when cruising is his top speed. Other forms of organization, breaking down the work into “doable chunks,” and making lists aren’t having much effect right now because he’s a fourteen-year-old kid.

We’ll get through this in short time. No summer breaks for the ADHD weary.  ADHD is like rust: it never sleeps.

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