Hi. It’s me back here. I’m the mom that you see at the VERY END of the pick up line on the last day of school. You see, I have that quirky kid whose head keeps wildly bobbing above the crowd. You know, the one who used to lick the walls in kindergarten and somehow convinced your kid that the glue stick was indeed chap stick… not because he was being mean, but because he’s done it to himself 50 times and still thinks it’s hilarious. I truly am still really sorry about that, by the way.
Back when I taught middle school and I didn’t have kids yet, the last day of school was a time for Frappes, flip flops and a giddy round of the Hallelujah Chorus over the loud speaker. Now, well you see, I’ve already counted that there are 83 days this summer. Not 83 blissful, bonding, balanced lazy hazy days of summer, building organized little Lego Villages and running sweetly successful Lemonade Stands. I’m talking 83 days of Almost Daily Harebrained Drama! Lots of NOISE. Lego pieces mixed in with lidless markers, lots of NOISE, 8.2 million tiny pieces of cut out paper, water balloons filled with aforementioned lemonade in my kitchen, lots of NOISE… you get the picture. Quite frankly, I’m girding my loins.
You see, I’ve read all the same articles we all have, and I really do know that we only have 18 summers with our kids before they’re off and out in the world. I really do love my kids and savor days of creative
destruction adventure with them! And, my kids really are awesome, just like yours! They’re just, well, a bit quirky. In all honesty, I’m no expert on this parenting thing. I’m taking it one day at a time. One sprinkler in my foyer at time. One jump from a tree limb onto a trampoline at a time. One lidless ant farm dropped on the floor at a time. One row of cicada shells on their heels like dominos at a time… After all, there are only 83 days until school starts!
BUT, until then, I’ve given a lot of thought into this whole summer vacation thing
…and I have come to the conclusion that heading into summer with a child with ADHD and No Plan can really make for some Almost Daily Harebrained Drama!
I could sit and tell you all the many things that I’ve learned as I’ve desperately scoured the Internet and Mom Blogs for advice about what to do with my crazy, quirky ADHD kids! But, if you have one or two of these Almost Daily Harebrained Dramas yourself, you’ve already read it all, too! You know to be proactive, to have a plan for each day, to set expectations and be consistent, to have and to stick to a routine. You know that visuals like calendars and charts can help. You also know that you can’t be the Entertainment Director for the next 83 days, and that you need to allow your quirky kiddo to feel just the right amount of boredom so that they learn to entertain themselves; but to not feel so much boredom that they decide to take all the doors off the hinges to build a life-sized fort in the living room! You know that no amount of yelling, stomping (or crying in the closet) is going to replace a good eye-level discussion and rational consequences.
You know these things, but if you’re like me, you probably still walk around with the nagging doubt, “What on earth am I doing wrong?!” I logically tell myself that this is futile. It’s not about parenting right or wrong. At its simplest level, every child is unique – yes, wonderfully and carefully made – yet comes with their own individual set of challenges. Sure, my kiddo tends to display those challenges loud and proud for all to see… and those challenges tend to make my house a pretty box-troll-ish-esque place! But, I have to tell myself that it’s not about having all the answers. It’s about how I approach answering those challenges. And, it’s about the big picture. It’s about those teachable moments within the chaos, the example of how I respond when things aren’t going my way, and it’s about my quirky kiddos knowing that they are loved unconditionally, noise and all.
If you’re in the back of the pick-up line with me, and you’re looking to have 83 Almost Dull Happy Days along with me, let’s just both be real! Our days are never going to be dull! But, I’m just going to remind myself each morning (and I’ll probably need a quick crash course on this about every 2.7 minutes) that it’s all about attitude and approach. Is my kiddo still going to attempt to build a telescope out of his curtain rod – most likely! But, if you multiply those 18 years by approximately 83 days, we really do only have about 1,494 days of this Summer Vacation Almost Daily Harebrained Drama! Cheers to that! And, if you’re in the back of the pick-up line with me, then I’ll see you bright and early… as the first ones in the DROP-OFF line in 84 days!