Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Let me start with a disclaimer. I am not a child expert, nor a parenting expert. The things that I share on this blog are intended to be helpful and the reader has the responsibility to apply what they find useful and ignore the rest. With that said, I want to share with you an experience I had years ago with my AD/HD daughter. Beckie was a very active girl with a lot of energy. With her sensory processing issues, she exhibited low body awareness and regulation was a challenge for her. My exuberant, active, and sensory seeking child had trouble sitting through a meal. She wasn't a picky eater, so food aversions were not to blame. She just had a need to move around. A lot. And it didn't matter if we were doing school during the homeschooling day, or if we were having a meal together. That girl had to move. Having been down this path previously with her older brother, I had learned to be more flexible and accommodating. Even so, it's distracting to have a distractible child and it can be disruptive even when that is not the child's intent. I honestly don't believe that Beckie was trying to cause problems, and in fact I don't think she was even aware of her movements sometimes. I would remind her to sit down, and she would look down at her legs with a surprised expression on her face as if to say, "What? I'm up again? How did that happen?" One night during dinner, my sweet Beckie was having more difficulty than usual sitting still. Her father, Scott, decided it was high time Beckie learn to remain seated during the meal. Beckie would promptly sit down as soon as she was reminded, but Scott was getting tired of having to repeatedly request that she return to her chair. After several reminders, Scott decided to kick it up a notch and be firmer with Beckie. The next time Beckie popped up out of her chair, Scott leaned over the table and pointed an index finger at Beckie. Then he used her full name, which every child knows is a serious warning sign. "Rebecca Michelle, you need to SIT DOWN!" At this point, Beckie became very still as she stared at the finger in front of her face. It was so close to her that she went cross eyed. She then looked up at her Father, eyes still crossed, and with amazement in her voice pronounced "Two Daddies!" Totally missing the point, Beckie happily discovered that crossing her eyes made things look interesting and incredibly she was now seeing double with two Daddies in place of one. I was trying so hard not to laugh that I had to leave the room. My husband wasn't far behind me. We looked at each other and Scott said, "Well THAT didn't work!" We continued to work with Beckie on sitting still when it was called for, with the understanding that she needed to mature and eventually would. I was crazy about Beckie, even when her zest for life couldn't be contained. She grew, and was able to sit still when she needed to. Maturation takes time, and refuses to be rushed. We do what we can to promote and facilitate it, and then we get to practice patience. It's so important to keep your sense of humor when you are a teacher and/or parent. Your kids will give you a plethora of opportunities to see the humor even in challenging circumstances.