Thursday, September 24, 2015

When Your Child Has A.D.D. - THERE ARE PERKS

About a year or two ago, I noticed a change in my oldest son's ability to focus.  

It seemed a little sudden, and it seemed a smidgen odd to me.  Then it got worse.  I was starting to freak out, but then something wonderful happened - 3 of my friends who have boys the SAME AGE said that they're having the same problems!  Because of this group of moms who showed up out of the woodwork, I decided this situation was simply a developmental stage for boys - what we were going through was normal.

Time passed, and unfortunately, improvement wasn't looming on the horizon.  One day I noticed my 5 year old was able to stay on task & follow directions better than my 8 year old. Worry started up again.  Tyson is smart and learns quickly.  He's also polite and in no way rude or defiant when he "forgets" about what he was told to do.  So I convinced myself again that it was nothing.

Well, 3rd grade started and everything was going great until BAM! a behavioral note came home expressing that my child could use some improvement on following teacher instructions and paying attention in class. He wasn't in major trouble, though, and my inner optimist came out to battle.  He was just reading a book instead of paying attention to the lesson after all...but after talking to the teacher, she let me know she has him SITTING AT THE TABLE CLOSET TO HER so that she can keep him on task better.  *SIGH*  For the first time, reality hit me that his focusing skills are comparatively worse than what the other kids are experiencing at this age.  That specific moment of realization was a total bummer.  This may not just be a "developmental phase" anymore!

The next day, a note came home about a field trip.  As I marked the box to say I'd be willing to chaperon, I began to ponder..."Hmmmm....wait a minute....WAIT. A. MINUTE!  For EVERY field trip my son has EVER been on, I have been "chosen" to chaperon....."  What do you know?...That's interesting, isn't it?   ...It's happened EVEN when chaperons were supposedly DRAWN OUT OF A HAT......  As the ink from my pen finalized the x on the spot, I had this strange, enlightening premonition that I would be chosen again.

Sure enough, less than 24 hours later, in rolled a congratulatory email from the teacher saying I had been "chosen" to go on the field trip.  Oh the irony!

For the last 3 years, I thought I had an insane amount of luck to go with my son on every field trip known to man.  But in reality, my son's teachers were actually thinking, "Yes, Mrs. Borden, please come, so that YOU can take care of him!"

Well, you know what I was thinking smugly on ALL of these occasions?  It was nothing more or less than, "WHOOO HOOOO!  I LOVE FIELD TRIPS!"

Bella & Tyson are FOURTH COUSINS!

I kept finding him dancing in a silent room to the music only he could hear through his headphones - it was awesome!

That bulbous instrument behind him was made out of a PIG BLADDER!

This DRUM was playing in the 2008 Olympics in China!  SO COOL!  I loved that drum number - I watched it in awe!

Going on the field trip was fabulous - 

1) I spent time with my son.
2) I got to see who my son's school friends are.
3) I got FREE admission to the MIM!  Rock on!!!!  
I love that place!!!

And best of all, it was comforting for me to see that there are other kids his age who are also easily distracted.  I think maybe all kids in 3rd grade have a little ADD.  

In general, though, even though he has trouble staying focused on mundane tasks or lessons that he finds trivial, I believe that my son is GIFTED.  From what I've read about gifted children I do think in some ways that's a nice way of saying he's smart, but also a little difficult to work with.   Truly he has great potential, though. I feel like I'm on a journey with him, trying to help him find his best learning style.  I wish I could capture some better glimpses of where he goes off to in his head - he's always coming up with creative & amazing ideas - I hope that someday he'll be able to funnel all of that creativity into a life destiny that makes him and others around him happy.  Actually...he's already making people around him happy - I could very well be the happiest one of all because of him - it's a beautiful blessing to have Tyson as my son.  

Until I had a child with A.D.D., I thought it sounded like a nightmare.  It is true that there are some tough when we're doing writing homework.   However, 99% of the time, life is just a grand adventure with my little guy - I love his stories, the random and amazing facts he can remember from the books he likes to read, the way he laughs about jokes that none of the other kids understands, the look on his face when he's thinking deeply, and his heart of gold.  

As for those field trip perks I was talking about - I've decided we can "Blame it on {his} A.D.D., Baby". (Thanks, AWOLNATION)