ADHD and My Girk

I’ve read that ADHDers have low self esteem. Some day it’s because of constant criticism (which I don’t give) and others say it’s “extreme self perception caused by constant struggling.”

The other thing is, both six and seven year old children have other diagnoses. I don’t know if it’s purely the one’s autism, FASD, developmental delay plus her ADHD, but man, it’s hectic. You -and they-can’t avoid.

My six year old son, he’s happy go lucky about it. Yesterday, I asked them to please put their dirty clothes from their laundry baskets into the washing machine. I still have 3-5 weeks before I’m allowed to do heavy lifting, bending etc. Because this is them, I definitely emphasised “from your laundry baskets.”

I later went into my son’s room, and he’d taken his current set of pyjama bottoms from his bed, and put it in too. The problem with that is that as I’d the case with my daughter and her socks, his clothes go missing! I can’t even bend to look under a pile of clothes sitting at the bottom of his wardrobe. And I remind my older boy to sort it out but his memory is also shot. (Autistic too.)

When I pointed out to my boy that he’d not ONLY taken dirty clothes and had no other pyjamas, he laughed and happily said, “Oops!”

I wish I could be that relaxed about my errors! My daughter would have been the opposite. Totally hating herself. She hates her school struggles so I’ve gone back a grade for reading and writing, gotten books with bigger writing for her visual perception problems and I’m doing visual discrimination exercises with them more than ‘school school.’ There will be time for that later. Right now, it’s about building skills and reducing the risk of anything that will destroy self confidence.

But I can’t take all risks away.

“Mommy, don’t you think I’m annoying?” she asked a few months ago..

Me, “Why? Why would I think you’re annoying?”

Her, “Because Micaiah had ADHD and he annoys me sometimes. So that means I annoy you.”

Now thankfully, I can separate the child from their behaviour. Because yes, her vocal stims sometimes get on all our nerves. The forgetting of simple instructions and doing what was not asked for is frustrating when I’ve tried so hard to break it down into little pieces. The leaving of clothes all over the place, inside and outside in the rain… The buying of socks every few months. THAT’s not easy to ignore either.

But their ADHD symptoms aren’t only annoying.

Last week, my husband sent them to “go fetch” their “clothes and bring them in from outside.”

Simple instruction.

They went.

And never came back.

As he washed the dishes, he looked out the window after a while to see what was taking so long and they were happily jumping on the trampoline, more of their clothes (shoes, socks, fleece tops. It’s winter here) discarded. I had heard him telling them. I also heard them happily chatting away and jumping.

So, we both independently decided to leave them to be happy. It was just too sweet a moment to spoil. It was funny that they’d forgotten why they were out there. Their happiness and enjoyment were so PURE.

I told my daughter that she didn’t annoy me. Her heart is so loving, she always shares her treats, always caring about others that I just love who she is.

But if course, that’s not the end of it. Never will be.

This past week, she asked me how I knew she had ADHD. I told her that it showed in her school struggles, her behaviour and in the impulsive things she used to do. Like throwing books in the toilet and bath tub, putting potato salad in the toaster… (I stopped there. Don’t want to give her more ideas!😉)

Then she said she hated that she has ADHD and asked me if it doesn’t make me angry.

Nope. Never.

Sad, yes.

I see the prenatal damage she sustained. I see her birth mom’s struggles in her. They have exactly the same personality and it makes me want to hug them both and protect them.

So I told her, that I definitely don’t ever feel angry that she has it, but I do feel sad that she’s sad about it.

She’s only seven.

Will she feel like this for the rest of her life?

She’s already got concessions for extra time to write exams. But we have problems with writing. Forget needing time… And she knows it. So I keep quiet and don’t mention it. The lack of spaces between words, the writing itself, the backwards letters… She hates needing extra help because it brings to the forefront that, in her words, “I have too many problems.”💔 I’m not rushing into therapy for those yet. She doesn’t know that it breaks my heart.

Her challenges will never anger me.

They only add to my helplessness and heartache.

My seven year old will never annoy me. She’s my heart.

Note to self to continue to praise her. But not only for her abilities, but for her big heart, like when she prides her little brother for being about to spell three letter words on the iPad. She was as proud and as in awe of him as I was, my six year old who can’t form letters to save his life! (Can’t recall if I posted about that.)

Navigating each child’s struggles with grace is hard. Trying to figure out how to maximize their own joy in their strengths and not focus on what can’t be fixed is different for each if my children-the two neuro typically, and the four ADHD and or autistics. Trying to balance societal norms with my child’s need to feel safe with me.

Example. My two year old’s severely matted hair won’t make sense to those who don’t know that touch and her head are not friends, no matter how much detangler and moisturizer you put in her hair before hardly even combing it. Just putting the comb in, and pulling it back out, not even coming it out or up… But she squeals, and cries and cowers. And the longer we leave it, the more tangled it becomes… Vicious cycle that I can’t fix. I can never make her cry just to suit what others think she should look like. But it’s not helping her either to leave it…

I can’t fix my children’s struggles. So we’ll muddle along together. Not annoyed. Not angry. Just wishing I could take all their struggles away. Like all good moms do for their children. Neurodivergent or not.

My ADHDer can take that to the bank.

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