The past couple of nights have been wild at my house, y’all. Last night, Will was working late. The children were “playing.” I say it that way because “play” consisted of Stella smearing herself with makeup again, reenacting Wrestlemania with Felix between applications. There was even hair-pulling, wedgies, and sucker-punches with foreign objects. Luckily, we don’t own any folding chairs. My living room was coated with bronze sparkly powder. I was afraid to take a shower. That’s kind of dumb. My kids are 4 and 6. I should be able to take a 5 minute shower without fearing that someone will be impaled with something.
I’m constantly assessing the hows and whys in my world. The only explanation I can come up with is that school is out. Our routine has kind of been exsanguinated. This terrifies me. The whole camp situation terrifies me. I’ve gone to being excited about the cool stuff she’ll be doing/learning this summer (swamp camp, art camp, zoo camp) to sphincter-tightening fear.
I took Stella by the library before we picked Felix up from playschool yesterday. She was acting completely bonkers. I wanted to sign her up for the library’s annual summer reading program. Another mom and daughter were in front of us, and sure, they were being ridiculously high-maintenance, but that was no excuse for Stella’s whining, twirling around (nearly kneecapping high-maintenance mom), and what appeared to be some variation of twerking. It was embarrassing. I almost had to drag her out. It didn’t get better. As we checked out our books, she acted like a spazz. They librarian looked at us kind of funny, to which I made some smart-ass comment about the ADHD being strong today. He said he understood, and that he used to be a special ed teacher. I didn’t know whether to hug him or hit him in the throat. I wanted to scream that she had just make principal’s list for the 3rd time in a row. Special ed my ass. So there.
I joke about a lot of stuff, and maybe I joke at inappropriate times/things. That’s my coping mechanism (since I can’t obviously drink wine at 7:30 AM or at 3:30 PM at the library). I got that humor from my dad; you learn to laugh or you lose your shit.
Most days I’m able to say to myself “it’s only ADHD.” Then there are days – weeks- like I’m getting now. The reality is, as much as I hate to admit it, shit is different for us, particularly during intervals such as summer. Other parents don’t have to worry so much about camp staff understanding this diagnosis, and being prepared to intervene if a kid just feels too damn much and loses it, or to make sure that a kid on meds is drinking enough liquids in the 90 degree heat, even if they don’t want to or realize they need to.
It also occurs to me that Stella and I have not had the talk yet, about how she’s different than other kids. She knows her meds help her stay calm during the day and not yell so much. Will doesn’t think we should rock the boat. I think she needs to start understanding a bit more- that she’s old and certainly smart enough to get it. I tend to defer to Will’s judgement on this stuff, as he’s been on that side of the librarian’s desk.
Anyone out there have any thoughts on this? When did you tell your kid? And what in the hell did you do with your kids during the summer, that time where most households can relax into the world of the unstructured – the very thing that can tear yours apart?