ADHD explained

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

My friends with ADHD or with kids with ADHD have been passing this
article around on Facebook.

Uncomfortable Truths About the ADHD Nervous System

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128 thoughts on “ADHD explained

  1. I posted this because, as someone without ADHD, I found it useful for understanding the interior world of someone with ADHD.

    Some of it sounds like the human condition. I don’t like engaging with boring projects either. In fact if they’re long-term, I get kind of suicidal. And I can have a sudden burst of insight and solve a problem over a period of hours that, earlier, stumped me for weeks.

    But I always wear a watch, and I have an eerily accurate ability to know what time it is at any given moment.

  2. Interesting read. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and yet not all/many of the descriptions of common ADHD characteristics in this article ring true. One that does – “everything happens right now or not at all”. One that does not: “While they can often read other people well,”

    What amazes me is my son’s level of energy and focus, when he is interested enough.

    I suspect some members of DHs family have the other kind of ADHD – the lost in a dream, lack of focus, absent-minded professor type. Luckily they’ve found partners who take care of the details or have learned enough coping skills to get by on their own.

  3. I hate this kind of thinking. The brain is far more plastic than was once thought and it can change. The author seems to approach ADHD as if nothing can or should change. To me, that doesn’t seem like a constructive way to approach things.

  4. Rhett – the author describes the extreme version, with all the bells and whistles, and doesn’t acknowledge those with only some of the typical attributes or that, with support, many develop coping skills and/or seem to grow out of it. Also, not everyone with ADHD needs medication; don’t get me wrong, some/many (?) definitely do.

    I’m on the email list for ADDitude magazine and I find that many of their articles are a bit off the mark for my son, so I take them with a grain of salt.

    Now that he’s devoured Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, my son will explain some of his antics with “because ADHD”. His brother has asked me if there’s medication for ADHD ;)

  5. My younger DD has ADHD inattentive (mild). A number of these things are true, one is if you didn’t have her attention, it never happened. This was a huge issue with the teacher who kept telling me she “told them in class” even though DD’s EAP said the teacher either needed to give it in writing or get confirmation that DD heard it, she rarely did.

    However, using a program called COGMED and having at OT give her organizational strategies are the two things that have helped the most. When school/life things get out of control, it is because she’s slacked off on her strategies. She can see the difference, just sometimes doesn’t want to do it all. the. time.

  6. Interesting article. I don’t know of anyone close IRL who has been diagnosed with ADHD. DH tends to focus only on the things that interest him. That’s a choice though. He is selectively late for certain things, again I think he procrastinates on things that are lower on his list.
    I came from an organized family who showed up to events on time, planned things in advance. My kids seem fairly typical with their own organization and recall strategies developed with the help of school.

  7. Hit the wrong button. I hope the link comes through. The biggest insight to my DD’s brain for me was when the neuropsyc showed me this picture and asked me how I’d draw it. Then she showed me DD’s approach. OMG – I couldn’t believe it. You get to look at it for 30 seconds I think, then draw what you can recall. My approach was to see a house on its side, and then dividing the square part into smaller parts. DD’s approach was to start and the far top left and try to draw each item moving left to right and top to bottom until she got to the bottom right. DD’s approach results in much less accurate “copy”. So, then part of her process in OT, was to learn to look for that bigger picture.

  8. I think there are two distinct syndromes that both get labelled as ADHD, and this article only describes one of them – the hyperactive type. It is a good description of my daughter, who is rather like the Energizer Bunny. But my son is very different. He is disorganized yes, but he is not impulsive at all, and lives not so much in the present, but rather internally. It is as if he lives in a constant inner world that drowns out the present.

    The two types used to be seen as more distinct but were merged together a few years ago. I think that is a mistake. Research shows that kids with inattentive ADHD do not get as much benefit from the standard medications, for example.

  9. AustinMom – Have you played Q-bitz with your daughter? The point of the game is to re-create a pattern shown on a card using cubes. Each cube is identical and has a different pattern on each side. I’ve found it interesting to see other’s players’ approaches to recreating the pattern. Outside in, breaking the pattern into quadrants, etc.

  10. Our #1 has a bit of inattentiveness, but I don’t think it rises to the level where she would be diagnosed with ADHD. I am not like this at all (planner to the max) so it is totally unfamiliar to me.

  11. AustinMom – that diagram drawing exercise is precisely the kind of thing my son does very well at. He is able to hyperfocus, and is really good at seeing patterns in visual information. My daughter has the more typical ADHD, though, and does badly at those kinds of exercises.

  12. My DD was not diagnosed until 6th grade because she had enough coping strategies to be able to do what was asked of her. Though I had already noticed that if a list was more than 2 things, it really helped to write it down for her. But, middle school requirements blew all that out of the water.

    Kerri – we haven’t played that game, but it was interesting to me that the neuropsch said that most people approach the problem like MM described her son – see several known patterns and then lay them on top of each other vs just seeing a bunch of different lines a that all need to be individually memorized.

  13. “Attention is never ‘deficit.’ It is always excessive, constantly occupied with internal reveries and engagements. When people with ADHD are not in The Zone, in hyperfocus, they have four or five things rattling around in their minds, all at once and for no obvious reason, like five people talking to you simultaneously.”

    This. +1. Although I agree with MM about the two types. @Mooshi: it seems as though he lives in a constant inner world that drowns out the present because he does. When you have so. much. stuff. going through your head at all times, input from the outside world is just one of 17 things clamoring for attention.

    @Rhett: I love you, but you can shove it on this one. The understand set forth in this article is actually part of the solution, not the problem. No one is saying people with ADHD can’t learn to get along in the world. What they are saying is that there is an actual biological *reason* people with ADHD experience the world differently and have trouble conforming to the expectations to sit still, pay attention, and shut up. Yes, we now know the brain can change and be re-trained, and we believe we can work with people to build the skills necessary to fit in (although the experience of the world is always going to be different — you are just building coping skills).

    OTOH, back IMD, everyone just assumed ADHD kids were “acting up,” that we missed deadlines because we were lazy, that we made mistakes because we were stupid, that we forgot a friend’s birthday because we were selfish, and that we generally failed to conform to expectations because we were bad. It was a character flaw, to be corrected with appropriate punishment and shame — and if (when) that didn’t work, well, then it must just be a bad kid, what are you going to do? Must just be incurable laziness or pigheadedness.

    So how well do you think that worked for the kids? The article talks about loss of confidence and self-doubt. That’s far too namby-pamby. Try spending your entire life being 100% sure that there is something wrong with you at your core, and not knowing what or why, and not feeling like you can ever do anything to fix it. I am 51 years old and I *still* define myself as the “brilliant flake” (in my mother’s epic words) — someone with this incurable flaw in my own personality or makeup. I *had* to be the smartest person in the room, because it was the only thing that I had that might possibly provide value so someone would think I was worth having around. And every forgotten assignment, every missed deadline, just reaffirmed my incurable wrongness.

    Gee, and I wonder where my anxiety came from?

    Reading about ADHD @10 years ago was like a light coming on — it wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t bad or lazy. I was just wired differently. It was freaking biology, and it could have been helped if people had actually known about it or cared to look beyond their assumptions.

  14. AustinMom – did she struggle with reading and writing? I’d imagine learning Chinese would be a nightmare for her. (It would be for me, but for other reasons).

  15. LfB – the biggest struggle I have as a parent is trying to decipher when my son is being lazy, being an age-appropriate typical boy or just processing things differently and really can’t help himself. When he’s not doing what he’s asked, am I coming down too hard on him when I ask him to focus or is he just pushing my buttons? Sometimes the answer is all of the above.

    I try really hard to ask “how can I help you?” first before ramping up the consequences. And he’s just a kid! What is he going to be like as a teenager?

  16. LfB said : “it seems as though he lives in a constant inner world that drowns out the present because he does. When you have so. much. stuff. going through your head at all times, input from the outside world is just one of 17 things clamoring for attention.”
    Yes, this is quite true, although from what he (and my sister who is diagnosed with the exact same type of ADHD) says, it isn’t 17 things clamoring for attention. It is being lost in ONE thing, which is the constant internal world. My sister says that without meds (and she does not take the usual ADHD ones because they don’t work for her) she is in a fog all the time, focused on an internal daydream.

    My daughter is the other kind of ADHD, so I can compare them. My daughter does not seem to have any internal world or narrative. She is completely in the external world, overwhelmed all the time by external stimuli. It can be truly odd sometimes – if you move one package of crackers on the top shelf in the pantry over by a few inches, she notices and asks why. And she has no internal ability to filter this stuff. So when she notices the crackers moved, she is also likely to hear the box screaming at her CRACKERS, so then she immediately has to climb the shelves to reach the crackers, spilling them all over the floor where she leaves them after stufifng her mouth with 5 of them. It doesn’t even occur to her that we will notice and make her clean up the crackers.

    My son on the other hand would never even have noticed the box of crackers to start with. He would come down, ask if there is a snack in the house, and when informed there are crackers in the pantry, would repeat “in the pantry?”. He would then stare into the pantry for a minute, and then return to his room, having forgotten why he came down, that he wanted a snack, and that there were crackers in the house.

  17. Rhett, I’m surprised to hear you say that, as someone who claims to be on the Asperger spectrum. That’s not neuro-typical and neither are people with AD(H)D. The judgementalism of saying “these people can and should just get with the program” is a huge part of why depression and AD(H)D are frequently diagnosed together. There is also a whole lot of literature out there on how the features of AD(H)D that are often castigated are actually strengths in some settings, and that by filtering them out, we, as a population, are missing out.

    Kerri, that sounds like me with my son’s depression–when is it that, and when is he a teen-ager who needs prodding? It must be really tricky to be fair but not equal with two kids of the same age!

  18. “So how well do you think that worked for the kids? The article talks about loss of confidence and self-doubt. That’s far too namby-pamby. Try spending your entire life being 100% sure that there is something wrong with you at your core, and not knowing what or why, and not feeling like you can ever do anything to fix it. I am 51 years old and I *still* define myself as the “brilliant flake” (in my mother’s epic words) — someone with this incurable flaw in my own personality or makeup. I *had* to be the smartest person in the room, because it was the only thing that I had that might possibly provide value so someone would think I was worth having around. And every forgotten assignment, every missed deadline, just reaffirmed my incurable wrongness.”

    I have felt this way my entire life.

  19. Kerri – Yes reading came slower, but it did finally click. It has never been her passion, but she does enjoy pleasure reading. Writing was (as in knowing and being able to write the letter) was OK, but the quality of the penmanship is poor (mild dysgraphia – the more she writes the worse it gets) and spelling is AWFUL. Apparently, this is all very classic. And, like MM said, ask her to go upstairs and get her shoes. Ten minutes later she comes down with a jacket and no shoes. Where are your shoes? Oh, yea, that’s why I went upstairs!

    Truly, this is SO MUCH BETTER than 3 years ago when she was diagnosed. I think like LfB said, knowing WHAT is wrong and how to cope with it is better than always thinking you are just lazy or dumb or stubborn. I struggle because her dad sees much of this as lazy and stubborn because no one had this when he was growing up. And, also as LfB mentioned the anxiety has decreased now that she knows the problem is how she’s wired.

  20. Psuedo, I can relate entirely! I remember the first time I heard about ADD. My sister called me in Berlin. She and our mom had just gone to a workshop on ADD, because she thought her son had it. Mom apparently kept saying “this is S&M” all day long. I was elated to hear that I was vindicated; I never was a bad kid, never meant to screw things up, and there was even a reason why I did! My sister’s answer to that totally crushed me “No, she says now we can get you fixed.” I didn’t want to be fixed. I was in a foreign country doing dissertation research on a grant–not like I wasn’t figuring out how to approach the world on my terms. But her attitude is by far the most common. I choose to surround myself with people who are affirming and who like me for who I am now–not if I’d get myself “fixed”.

  21. AustinMom – my second greatest parenting struggle is making sure DH and I are on the same page. DH is far less patient and sees a lot of DS’ behavior as rude and disrespectful.

    Then there’s my other son, who finds his brother equally delightful and embarrassing depending on the situation.

  22. S&M – wanting to “fix” you does come across harshly. There may be too much water under the bridge at this point but can you take the comment instead as analogous to wanting to give someone with poor eyesight the glasses they need to see better?

  23. Rhett, I’m surprised to hear you say that, as someone who claims to be on the Asperger spectrum.

    That’s my experience. Your not born with the default settings set correctly. But, as you work to consciously adjust for that through trial and error, therapy etc. eventually, while not perfect, the default settings begin to approach those of a neurotypical person.

  24. I think people can be on a continuum for this stuff and for some, ADHD may not be enough of an impediment to normal life to justify changing anything. They can just benefit from some of the good points of ADHD. But some people have to learn coping skills just to navigate life normally, My sister did not get diagnosed until adulthood, and laments the fact that she did not have access to the medications, interventions, and coping strategies that my son benefits from. She has told me several times that her life would have been better if she had been treated. She has struggled with anxiety and depression all her life because she doesn’t know how to cope. My son was falling into that cycle of depression in middle school, but it was caught in time. He does have to work VERY hard, though, at just doing things that are normal for most, and sometimes it gets him down.

    I suspect that mild ADHD runs through my family – myself, and my mother included – but it is so mild that we just end up kind of disorgaized and scattered. It isn’t life impacting. My second son probably has that same mild ADHD.

  25. Kerri, thanks. That’s only one of several major wounds I’ve gotten from her. I got a huge wake-up call a few years back. My son bought me a little teddy bear, because he was worried about me after I’d been so torn up by something having to do with her for several days. He needs a better mother than that. Since then, I no longer try to get my mom’s approval.These years that I’ve hated more than any others in my life are when she has found me relatable. I simply focus on being a good daughter, helping my parents out when they need it. She can think or wish for whatever she wants; I don’t need to respond.

  26. Rhett said “while not perfect, the default settings begin to approach those of a neurotypical person.”
    I disagree. I think people with serious ADHD spend their lives coping.

  27. It wasn’t so much that comment that was hurtful–it was that and the years and years of feeling that something about me just wasn’t right. Wanting to “fix” me brought it to a point for me, but changed nothing in her.

  28. Rhett, if your goal is to become something else, go for it. But don’t assume the rest of us have the same wish. Maybe we could, maybe we couldn’t, but afaic, the point is setting up our lives that works for us.

  29. I think people with serious ADHD spend their lives coping.

    My sister did not get diagnosed until adulthood, and laments the fact that she did not have access to the medications, interventions, and coping strategies that my son benefits from. She has told me several times that her life would have been better if she had been treated

    Given the same baseline level of ADHD, your son, having had all that intervention, will end up having to expend less mental energy on coping and more will come by default/second nature than is that case for your sister.

  30. MM – there are a few people in my Dad’s family who are like your DS. They are brilliant in their field but socially come across as an absent minded professor. They have very capable wives, who handle the household and day to day tasks.

  31. Louise, the difference is they are able to succeed in their field. My son couldn’t do that without a lot of “strategies” because he wouldn’t get the grant proposals written. But perhaps your relatives also learned those coping skills, on top of getting the capable wife. (and boy is my son going to need one of those!)

  32. “the biggest struggle I have as a parent is trying to decipher when my son is being lazy, being an age-appropriate typical boy or just processing things differently and really can’t help himself. ”

    I feel like this is the biggest challenge with having a kid at this stage. Is he being lazy, is he being 9, or is there a real problem here that may need to be addressed by us/the teacher/a doctor or where I need to give him space? These kind of discussions are really helpful to me too – knowledge about the kind of issues and advice/treatments/strategies others have. Even though I can’t relate to ADHD specifically, I often have to take a step back because DS & I are very similar in some ways that fool me into thinking that we are a lot alike, but also very different. And I have to remind myself that he is not a mini-me. I think I struggle the most with this in his introverted/cautious tendencies.

    The disorganization I really do think is lazy 9 year old boy because he has improved greatly in some areas (like bringing things to/from school) when given simple strategies like putting everything in his backpack the night before and putting it by the door and buying a calendar. And because he does an amazing job or organizing things he cares about like his baseball cards, but not when asked to put his clothes away.

  33. “the biggest struggle I have as a parent is trying to decipher when my son is being lazy, being an age-appropriate typical boy or just processing things differently and really can’t help himself. ”

    I see this also. So many kids are diagnosed with something, whether ADHD, anxiety, depression, etc. Then the parenting challenge is how to handle the many times the kid may be misbehaving or may be lazy or absent minded or inconsiderate or suffering with a significant medical issue. Or a combination of any of these.

    Really, the psychiatric medical community seems inconsistent with their diagnoses so it leads parents to wonder what really is going on. I see families where the father (typically) thinks the mother is coddling the kid with a diagnosed condition. I’ve also seen kids seem to manipulate their parents and the system. Do all these kids really need extended SAT time, for example.

    I don’t mean to trivialize real medical conditions because I know they do exist.

  34. Ivy – I do have an automatic reference point having twins and both boys, but, while I may make a comparison in my head, I try not to hold up one’s behavior as an example for the other. Try being the key word.

    It’s tempting to think they’re like you when they look like you or have some of your mannerisms.

  35. I don’t mean to trivialize real medical conditions because I know they do exist.

    They do, but having a medical condition doesn’t preclude being a knothead. It is really hard trying to figure out if the problem is the condition or the teenagerness.

  36. (Yup, I’m avoiding doing really boring work today. Please someone else comment or change the subject!)

  37. Please someone else comment or change the subject!

    Rocky, thanks for posting this!

  38. If people are bored with the topic, you should definitely hijack.

  39. I think our district just automatically assumes anyone on a 504 or IEP needs extended testing time. They don’t even think about it. We had to explicitly turn it down for my oldest because not only did he really not need it, I thought it might hurt him – you know, more time to lose focus.

  40. Baby in danger stories with happy endings.
    Here is a short and long version of the same thing. short (watch it and listen to the rest) http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/dad-girl-rescued-strangers-family-10338905 full (6 min) version (half of it is the short video, half of it is black screen) http://www.kgw.com/news/raw-unedited-rescue-dear-jesus-please-let-this-baby-breath_/435514413
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmWWoMcGmo0 just listen while you work.

  41. I am transcribing interviews for a research study I am involved with. Talk about boring!!!

  42. I’ve also seen kids seem to manipulate their parents and the system.

    I’ve seen it more the parents than the kids. The most common, from what I’ve seen, is attempting to define “high achieving” as normal. So any normal (as in non high achieving) kid is found to have a deficit requiring intervention.

  43. I think our district just automatically assumes anyone on a 504 or IEP needs extended testing time.

    I had one teacher who assumed anyone with a 504 needed to sit in front. No, that is not the intervention my immune system compromised child needs.

  44. When DS was in kindergarten/1st grade, I thought he had ADHD. He had a hard time learning to read but he did eventually. He just does not like to read. DH said to give him time, I noticed that he did outgrow a lot of things but not liking to read is innate. Being a reader, I thought something was definitely wrong with him.

  45. The end of last week we found out Junior DD (1) got into a free computer science camp at the local university for a week in June and (2) got a paid intership (6 weeks) with the city (she did hiring paperwork on Saturday), but they don’t tell her what department for another two weeks. Unfortunately, with 2 AP tests today and 2 on Friday, she isn’t nearly as happy about it as I am!

  46. “It is being lost in ONE thing, which is the constant internal world” — MM, yes, we’re talking about the same thing. It’s just that usually my internal world usually bounces around 17 different things. Which is why that lone outside voice has no impact, when there are 17 others already competing in my head. :-) But my DD is exactly like yours — she was the kid who couldn’t concentrate in class because she heard a fly buzzing against the window.

    @Kerri, I totally feel you. We would have had an easier time if we had had the electron as #2, because at least then we would have had a data point.

    In retrospect, though, I think the kind of parenting that works for ADHD kids also works well for neurotypical kids. You start with setting them up for success — for most kids this is things like sufficient sleep and regular food, for ADHD kids you need to expand that to include a variety of systems/routines to work around the forgetfulness (e.g., routinely looking through folders every night; “all schoolwork in backpacks before bedtime”; backpacks live by the exit; etc.). And then for enforcement/discipline, the 1-2-3 Magic approach, with very clearly defined expectations and structure and unemotional, consistent results.

    IOW, ADHD kids just have a narrower band of parenting styles that work effectively — too permissive makes too many excuses for bad behavior, too authoritarian makes them feel incompetent and anxious, but the happy medium works just as well for both ADHD and non-ADHD kids, just with a higher need for structure and routine.

    I try to draw the line at “behavior that hurts other people” — e.g., if you are angry and kick someone, it doesn’t really matter that you are more impulsive than other kids, you still must behave in a civilized manner, and you will get an appropriate consequence for that (immediate removal, time out, etc.), and probably a stern lecture about how that is not ok. OTOH, things like blurting out/interrupting we correct more gently and over a longer period of time, as it’s more of a nicety that doesn’t really hurt anyone, like using decent table manners. And things like the forgetfulness I try — try — to approach from the “is there something we need to tweak in our system to fill a gap, or is this just in the ‘everyone is going to screw up sometimes’ category?”

    My recurring frustration is people (teachers, DH) who tend to have the same response to all three of these, and who get angry or crack down inappropriately on minor things. It’s as if every little thing is an intentional challenge to their authority. Ugh.

  47. My DD and I have done the drawing “test” that AustinMom posted. It is really interesting to see the difference on how we perceive things. The psychologist who we did the exercise with said that he tell with almost 100% certainty who is Catholic. They almost always draw the cross first. My DD doesn’t have ADHD, but does have NonVerbal Learning Disability, which has a lot of similarities. She becomes visually overstimulated. Learning via smartboards and Ipads is not effective. If it isn’t directly told to her she doesn’t process it.

  48. You all have me thinking on the list of multiplying things EI keeps telling us about. I can’t decide if they are trying to get everything in before he’s 3, they are really concerned, or they are justifying keeping him in the program. We are still wondering what’s because he’s 2, what’s because he’s himself, and what is a true sign of things to come.

    Then I have the new one who’s hitting milestones 2-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Go figure.

    This is me reading through a 24 chapter report and a communications plan.

  49. Austin – my oldest had one yesterday, and three next week. Between that and play rehearsals he’s feeling pretty loaded up too. I’m sure your daughter will be more excited when she has time to breathe! And as a parent you’re probably extra-excited, because the difference between a pay-to-attend summer program open to anyone and a competitive program that is free for those who get in is more obvious to the person with the wallet!

  50. “I’ve also seen kids seem to manipulate their parents and the system.”

    “I’ve seen it more the parents than the kids. ”

    Oh yes, I have definitely seen it with parents.

    Congratulations, Austin Mom! That sounds like a great internship. I’m sure her excitement will come after this week.

  51. So, last week or so, everyone was talking about Nextdoor and the local window to crazy. Because I don’t spend enough time at the computer accomplishing nothing, I made a new account with our new address (we moved last year).

    On the walk home from school drop off this morning, I noticed the neighbors had a little cloth bag in their bushes. A little cloth bag that looked just like the one I snap to my bicycle. And that it was empty and some of the contents were lying in the bushes. Picked it up, got home to realize that one of our cars had been tossed – they even sat in the driver’s seat, moved the seat around to check all the compartments, popped the trunk and emptied it out.

    This was super annoying and really upsetting to the kids (“I thought people didn’t steal stuff in our neighborhood!”). My work backpack was in there – with my e-bike battery. Value to thieves: $0 – it is key locked and tracked by the company. Unlikely to be able to sell for any real value. Replacement cost: $900. Super annoying. And so tote baggy!! Help, help! I’ve lost my e-bike battery!

    Anyway, within 2 hours, I had recovered the control console (about the size of deck of cards, snaps to the handlebars) and have a plan to go pick up my backpack with battery inside. Found by different people (the backpack was 2 miles away, the control console a few blocks) courtesy of my new Nextdoor account.

    And I will promise to keep my car locked up all the time.

  52. Whenever LfB writes, I think, “I have that problem too.” I suspect almost no one is neurotypical in all senses. UMC kids get more help/support than their poor/working class counterparts, which is part of why they are more successful in school and life.

    I have really struggled with focus and organization since the twins came. I’ve just accepted that I’ll need to buy a new coffee mug annually because I left mine somewhere. Mr WCE is somewhat frustrated by this limitation, but he also has rarely/never been the one primarily responsible for family minutiae. Twin 1 had an almost broken shoelace, and Mr WCE told me about it last night before soccer practice. I am the one who knows where the spare shoelaces are and got it changed, which means that I have previously identified the most commonly needed shoelace length and identified a place in our house to stock it.

  53. I am summarizing information for audit purposes in case a (non-local) regulator some day asks for it. Really the problem is that I’ve been avoiding this work and now there’s a backlog. Ugh.

  54. Every time I’ve seen 1-2-3 Magic mentioned here I have to go look it up. With that name it sounds too good to be true, but apparently it works for many parents.

  55. I have really struggled with focus and organization since the twins came. I’ve just accepted that I’ll need to buy a new coffee mug annually because I left mine somewhere. Mr WCE is somewhat frustrated by this limitation, but he also has rarely/never been the one primarily responsible for family minutiae.

    Yes, I don’t think I would be nearly so bad about losing drinks if I weren’t devoting so many brain cells to other people’s needs and schedules. Or, for that matter, if I were sitting down relaxing instead of moving around the house trying to do this that and the other thing.

  56. Wow, Ada, glad you got your stuff back. Did you hear if any other neighbors had been similarly victimized?

  57. “…if I weren’t devoting so many brain cells to other people’s needs and schedules.”

    Yes, and exactly why am I the designated person to do this? Because, my DD#2 almost didn’t get into drivers’ ed or camp this summer because her dad didn’t think it was urgent to sign her up? Got the last camp space (only 4 for the program she wanted) and next to the last space for the only 3 week period she can do drivers ed this summer. His response, its OK she got in. Her response, Mom can you do this next year? And, just now I found out when he filled out the initial forms, he had all the forms (you know, health, photo release, etc.) all emailed to me.

    Like some of you all, I’ve been procrastinating today. Nose back to grindstone.

  58. why am I the designated person to do this?

    Because you’re the only one that cares if she goes to drivers ed or camp?

  59. She cares, but can’t sign off as a minor. And, he should because (1) this year’s camp is the first step to be employed there next summer and (2) he hates to drive her everywhere, so it’s in his best interest she learn. But, care and care enough might be the distinction!

  60. Ada, that sucks. At least you were able to get most of your stuff back.

  61. But perhaps your relatives also learned those coping skills, on top of getting the capable wife. (and boy is my son going to need one of those!)

    Mooshi, from what you’ve written about your husband, he’s pretty lucky he found one. :)

  62. I’ll throw out a hijack. I’m planning DW’s 50th birthday party. It looks like we’ll have about 25 people total. I’m going to order from a local bbq place. How much meat should i get? Would 10 lbs be about right (there will be a couple of vegetarians)? I’m planning on beans, cole slaw, mac and cheese, maybe mashed potatoes for sides. What else would be good for sides, especially for vegetarians? And to be clear, I am looking for things that can easily be purchased already prepared.

  63. DD- Figure 1/3 to 1/2 pound of meat per person. 8- 10 lbs sounds about right and I’m sure you’ll have some left overs.

  64. DD, I’d figure 1/3 lb of meat per person, so with 10 lbs you’re covered with about a pound to spare. Just make sure the beans are truly vegetarian (it’s not uncommon for bbq beans to have scraps of meat mixed in), since that’s the only protein you have planned for the veggies.

    Are you also going to hit Costco or somewhere similar? A crudite tray would be a nice addition.

  65. This verges slightly on actual effort, but you could also buy a couple of bags of one of those prepared Southwest salad blends that come with the dressing and toppings, and add in some diced firm tofu and grape tomatoes and maybe thawed frozen corn kernels. That would be another protein for the veggies.

  66. I feel like I should add the parenthetical (that MM hates) whenever referencing a salad-in-a-bag kit.

  67. Fred,

    Three dealerships gave me essentially the same price for essentially the same Tundra. Which was also the Costco price. I’m going with the closest one. The glitch right now is that I need another driver to pick up the vehicle.

  68. Ada, sorry for the hassle, but glad you got it all back so fast. I once had a backpack stolen at a place where putting them in lockers was mandatory. Getting the passport replaced was the biggest hassle–bike lock was on my bike and neither cost $900. Nearly a year later, someone brought it to my door. He claimed to have found it in a field. It had the old passport in it and the lunch I’d packed for that day!

    I’ve tried to explain the brain cells diverted to my son when he laughs at me for not knowing my Apple password, but he can’t comprehend a world in which getting his gym shirt ready for Tuesday and his preschool shirt ready for Thurs is not my job. But, as I told someone the other day, I want him to take me for granted, in a way. As a parent, I want my kid to have a sense of security and to know that his world is a safe spot, that he’ll have what he needs. It’s damaging for kids not to have that basic expectation of safety. That means taking one’s parents for granted. Who would want it to be different? “Thanks for letting me get pizza/ice cream” is good, but I don’t want my kid to think it’s extraordinary to have food on his plate.

    Austin, congrats to you and your daughter!

  69. “The glitch right now is that I need another driver to pick up the vehicle.”
    They should deliver it to you. That’s what the dealer did when I bought my last vehicle.

  70. Denver, if you’re cooking the meat, you could get some veggie burgers. The place you’re ordering from should have a guideline as to how much per person. Between the cheese, potatoes, and beans, it looks to me like you’ve got protein covered (besides, it’s a meal out–eating is good, hitting their macros purely optional). Do watch out for specks of meat that’s been added into things. If you feel the need to add something, I’d go with more green veggies that don’t have dressing. Or you could do baked potatoes instead of mashed, and have a few things their for people to put on their potatoes–broccoli, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.

  71. DD – Find out (or maybe you know) how the bbq meat will come, especially if you are getting chicken or sausage in the mix. One place here sends out long links of sausage and thick slices of brisket. For the family, it is fine, but when serving more people it always seems to be short.

    Agree with HM on the beans – true vegetarian would be best or some of both, but label them! Coleslaw, mac and cheese are also good vegetarian choices. Corn bread is always good, IMO! And, if you have some snacks before hand – veggie tray/fruit tray – people will typically not eat as much dinner. If the celebratory dessert is also displayed, some people will “save room” and not eat as much of the main course as well.

    Around here, some snacks (even if just chips) is considered “required” if you are serving alcohol before the “meal”.

  72. Unrelated question: The State Dept just issued a travel alert for Europe with a focus on travel hubs and tourist hot spots. I am about to book a family vacation to London and Paris for this summer. Should I be worried? Change my plans? Forge ahead? What would you do?

  73. There have been 2 terrorist attacks in London and Paris in places we will want to visit.

  74. Thanks for the replies. The meat comes chopped or shredded, depending on what it is. I’m not planning on cooking anything, just heating stuff up and keeping it warm. They do have bbq tofu, but that’s sounds kind of gross. The place only does mashed potatoes, not baked, so that’s why I’m considering it, but it’s another thing that would need to be kept warm. They do potato salad but it’s the mustard kind that we don’t like, but I could pick some up elsewhere. The do have cornbread, that’s always a good option.

    HM, yes, that salad is too much effort. I could do a completely prepared salad from somewhere.

  75. Houston, I would still go. Any place can be hit at any time. I’m a big believer in living your life, unless someplace is truly unsafe – I wouldn’t go to Syria, for example.

  76. They do have bbq tofu, but that’s sounds kind of gross.

    To you it sounds gross, but obviously someone likes it enough to order it or they wouldn’t keep it on the menu. (And it doesn’t sound gross to me, fwiw.) Get like 1.5 lb to cover the vegetarians, and the veggie-curious carnivores.

  77. What would you do?

    Your biggest risk in London is still (by far) getting hit by a car when you look the wrong way before crossing the street*.

    * Because they drive on the other side of the road.

    So I wouldn’t worry about terrorism but I would worry about looking the wrong way before crossing the street.

  78. But, Rhett, don’t they have the ever so helpful “look right” signs printed on the sidewalks?

  79. Houston,

    Realistically, the whole world should be the subject of a travel alert, because anyone can be a victim at any time.

  80. There are some signs in Canberra reminding pedestrians to look the “other” way for traffic, but not many in Melbourne.
    There was very little security anywhere in Australia during our visit. It was like time travel.

  81. But, Rhett, don’t they have the ever so helpful “look right” signs printed on the sidewalks?

    For a reason!

  82. How often do terrorists go to the same places twice? Seems to me that if they’ve already hit where you’re going, there’s less chance, but I don’t really know. Given how very low the risk of terrorists anywhere is, compared to getting hit by a car or falling off a balcony, I’d worry about cars and balconies more than about cars. In our family, what happened to Jordan Williams is more likely.

  83. I wouldn’t go for BBQ tofu, but not all vegetarians are the same. If it’s only going to be your family and 21 guests, how hard is it to just survey the vegetarians?

  84. Thanks everyone! We will discuss with the kids and move forward accordingly. DH and I don’t care one way or another.

  85. Houston — I’m going to London and Paris with my family this summer, and I’m not worried at all — just totally looking forward to it. The way I see it, we had a terrible, horrible attack in Boston at the marathon a few years ago, but we still go into Boston all the time. I say book your trip, and enjoy it.

  86. NOB: Ha! We might meet each other and not even know it. It seems that booking through Travelocity is cheapest. How many days?

  87. Wow. A very simple recipe for halibut in packets (http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/halibut-foil-packs-with-chile-butter) turned into a half-day ordeal when Kroger had neither halibut nor bok choy (WTH, Kroger?). So, mindful of the references to H Mart here, I drove all the way over to the H Mart in Aurora. That was actually quite fun and I got a lot of odds and ends. Then I came home, had to thaw the halibut, and then realized it needed to be deboned. I don’t have good tools for that. So DH is just going to have to pick bones out of his fish. The rest of the recipe took slightly longer than I would have liked, but it came out pretty well. If you already have halibut and bok choy, it’s reasonably straightforward.

  88. One of my kids has been forced into eating more vegetables. Never went for salads but has to now. I got “it tastes weird” for a salad. I am sure in time, lots of vegetables or vegetable dishes which said kid thought he would hate will be eaten and over time he will grow to tolerate favorably and one day like (I hope).

  89. My kid still won’t eat veggies by force, no matter how hungry he is. But he has agreed to saag paneer once or twice a week, and cucumber. Not exactly eating the rainbow, but it’s something. And he devours fruit.

  90. “Just make sure the beans are truly vegetarian (it’s not uncommon for bbq beans to have scraps of meat mixed in), since that’s the only protein you have planned for the veggies.”

    Mac and cheese can also provide protein for vegetarians, but not vegans.

    Perhaps some spicy garlic edamame, as HM mentioned recently? Tasty, very good with beer, and a source of protein for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores.

  91. “got home to realize that one of our cars had been tossed”

    Is this a colloquialism in your area?

    My initial picture was your car actually getting tossed, e.g., by a tornado, but I realized you meant something else.

    BTW, I did a quick check with the google, and one autofill suggestion was “car tossed by tornado.”

  92. “go upstairs and get her shoes. Ten minutes later she comes down with a jacket and no shoes. Where are your shoes? Oh, yea, that’s why I went upstairs!”

    Is ADHD progressive? I find this happening to me with increasing frequency.

  93. DD’s school sent out a very long email this afternoon with warnings about letting kids watch “13 Reasons Why” and among other things said:

    “Our school psychologist, school nurses, social workers and counselors are trained in suicide prevention and supports and, unlike some of the adults in 13 Reasons Why, take all reports seriously.”

    What am I missing that they feel this is necessary?

  94. “go upstairs and get her shoes. Ten minutes later she comes down with a jacket and no shoes. Where are your shoes? Oh, yea, that’s why I went upstairs!”

    Is ADHD progressive? I find this happening to me with increasing frequency.

    Finn, when memory lapses increase as you get older, we call it “age-related cognitive decline.”

  95. Houston — The four of us will be spending a week in London and a week in Paris. DH is going to go over a few days early with DD, and they’re going to bike around some places in rural England. At the end, on the way back, DH is going to spend a few extra days hiking and camping in Iceland with DS. Alas, he has the entire summer off, but I don’t.

    I booked plane tickets directly with Iceland Air. We’re staying in apartments — found the London one through Home Away, and the Paris one through Air BnB. I’m now in the process of buying tickets and passes to the attractions we want to see — I’m finding that in many cases you can save quite a bit of money by purchasing in advance over the internet.

  96. Denver — Our school district sent out a very similar e-mail today as well. Until today, I had never heard of “13 Reasons Why,” so I have no light to shed on the subject.

  97. DD, we also got an email from the kids’ school. I opened it on my phone and the whole message didn’t display, and I haven’t read it on my computer at home, so I don’t know the details, but I figured since we don’t have Netflix, it’s not something to worry about.

    On 2nd thought, a friend of DS shared her password with DS. Maybe I should read the message. OTOH, in about 3 months he’ll be thousands of miles away, making his own decisions.

  98. We just started watching 13 Reasons this week (maybe we could feel the concern trolling in the air?)

    It is a compelling story, with a dramatic, self-absorbed teen narrator. It opens a week or two after her suicide, but she has (charmingly and anachronistically) left behind tapes with her story about why she killed herself. DH thinks the pacing is awful and while the narrator is believable, she is totally annoying.

    Anyway, it does feel a little glamorous – an extension of the suicide fantasy, “They’ll all be sorry” and “They’ll miss me when I am gone”. I could see it inspiring copycats.

  99. Nothing makes a tv show or movie more attractive to kids than advisories like these. Maybe the only way to neutralize the glamour and forbidden fruit aura is to watch it at home with them, but I would be extremely annoyed if I were a parent of a vulnerable kid of this age — or any kid of this age, really — and find myself compelled to spend hours of precious time in this way.
    When we were kids, I think that Go Ask Alice triggered similar worries but that was two hours and there was no way to rewatch it.

  100. And William Shatner was in Go Ask Alice. So clearly it was not a serious production.

  101. Our school district sent an email about the show too. The superintendent said they sent it because the guidance counselors and school psychologists asked her to alert the parents because they aren’t with the kids at home when they might be upset or confused about an episode.

    My daughter already finished the series, but I’m still watching it. I didn’t want to watch it, but I want to know what she saw when she watched. We’ve had several conversations about the program, and I do think she is too young to see this type of content. I also think it raises a lot of important issues, but it is too long and I don’t think it is a good show.

    I also know that if I blocked her from watching it, that she would have found a way to watch with a friend because she was so curious since so many of her friends saw the program.

  102. I watched 13 Reasons Why. It really does glamorize suicide. If I had a teen/preteen, I wouldn’t be too excited about him/her watching and would watch it together if at all. But it is long! So I would be annoyed.

  103. My DD is 11 and watched 2 episodes and stopped herself before telling me about it. I was happy she stopped on her own and I didn’t have to prohibit it. Her friend has watched the whole thing and I think it is horrible that an 11 year old has now seen the last few episodes. By the way, you can view the history of your netflix account here: http://www.netflix.com/WiViewingActivity

  104. I started watching 13 Reasons but the pace was too slow and somehow the show didn’t seem believable (don’t know why I felt that) but I stopped watching. DS hadn’t mentioned it nor does his interest lie in watching shows like this. DD is a tad too young. The school hasn’t mentioned it yet.

  105. Is anyone watching the new season of the Americans on F/X? I’m not loving it. I still appreciate the strong performances by the actors, but I am not loving the story lines.

    By the way, I was really surprised to learn that actor that plays Pastor Tim is the same guy that plays Dollar Bill on Billions. I am really enjoying Billions this season.

  106. Lauren, we’re watching it. Haven’t seen this week’s episode yet. All the story lines seem too separate. I’m hoping they bring everything together at some point.

  107. Lauren,

    We’re still catching up on the least season of the Americans. Also trying to get caught up on Billions and Big Little Lies. Now that we’ve watched Grace and Frankie, does anyone have any other light comedy series they can suggest?

  108. I gave us on the Americans. It totally went down hill. Big Little Lies was a really fun show. I hope it comes back for another season.

  109. I see Casting JonBenet is available on Netflix. I read the review and it seemed quite interesting.

  110. I watch Grace and Frankie in the gym, and I was laughing out loud at one of the early episodes. A guy next to me on treadmill couldn’t believe how amazing Jane Fonda looks when I told him what I was watching. That cast is so talented. The other funny show that just released season 3 is Catastrophe. It’s very different than G and F, but it’s usually funny.

  111. Yes, similar email from both DDs’ schools. The weird part is, if you hadn’t heard of it, the letter didn’t really tell you what the issue(s) is/are. I asked my girls about it, both said their friends had watched some/all of it, but it wasn’t of interest and who wants to know more about suicide anyway.

    DD#1 has a classmate (same MS, not same HS) who tried to commit suicide in HS. She only found out after months after the fact, but she was surprised it could be someone she knew.

    Completely jumping topic — I wonder if age-related cognitive decline is worse for AD(H)D people?

  112. Okay, so very late to the game as the topic has veered to others. I think articles like this, and the discussion it generates, is great. over time, it will take the negative bite out of the ADHD diagnosis and other similar diagnosis (for instance, some learning disabilities). I used to be judgmental and lacked understanding of the unique challenges and strengths offered by ADHD, dyslexia and similar challenges. I had to experience it first-hand as a parent and I now have a whole different view. We all need a better understanding of these issues and an appreciation that a lot of this is just the unique ways our brains work. We are not all, nor would we want us all to be, neuro-typical.

    Austin Mom – my daughter (the “no executive function” version of ADHD without any hyperactivity and only limited inattention; i.e., the kind which my psychologist describes as “it needs a different name”) took that same test. Hearing about her approach from the psychologist was a great insight into how my daughter’s brain works and why I should not get so frustrated with her, at least not when we have not taken the time to provide her with more support and specific instruction to help her develop the executive functions which are natural to some (to me). The “list” test was another eye-opener. But now that we understand the support she needs and now that we know how to articulate that to her teachers, we are in much better shape.

    Ultimately, the solution is a better understanding of the general public and much more intensive professional development for educators on these unique challenges, how to identify them, how to provide support and how to recognize the strengths that come along with them.

  113. On Netflix, I like Father Brown, fun detective show. I read The Hammer of God story way back when, it was in my favorite collection of short stories put together by Readers Digest.

  114. On the original topic (I was traveling yesterday, so no opportunity to write my usual long form post), I take the linked article with many grains of salt. I don’t have anyone in my family with serious learning disabilities (just serious depression/anxiety) so I am not addressing that. I am frequently inattentive and distractible, plus hyperfocussed when interested, but I shy away from using an acronym to describe myself. The greatest hurdles I had as a child and adult were the inability to decipher social cues or comprehend the “rules”, and the lack of any need to organize schoolwork until college. I certainly believe that many of us quirky kids could be trained from an early age in those specific ways. However, our parents may not be the best, especially at the social stuff, because they are either just like us and have no tools, or they are not like us and can’t understand that we just don’t get it and are not bad or willful kids.

  115. I didn’t see the house when I glanced at it. This morning I remembered asking a friend to translate something from Arabic for me. He burst out laughing as soon as he saw it. After the first couple lines, the whole thing is the same sentence repeated over and over, once per line. When he pointed it out to me, the pattern was obvious–I don’t know all the letters, but just looking at the shapes, it was clear.

    I haven’t seen/heard anything from DS’s HS re 13 reason, but my FB lit up about it 1 or 2 weeks ago with concerned posts from teachers and mental health professionals. It’s apparently a pretty believable narrative, no matter what people who have the fortune not to know teen depression up close have to say. Each episode is based on a tape that begins “here’s your tape”, so there is now (according to some of these articles) a thing where kids say/post “here’s your tape” about utterly trivial things, thereby trivializing the exclusion, etc shown in the show. Glamorizing “revenge” suicides , as several people mentioned above, is also a concern in these articles. I don’t think my kid’s seen it; when all the posts came out, he was home with fever and then simply not able to cope with school, so we lucked out.

  116. I am frequently inattentive and distractible, plus hyperfocussed when interested

    That’s why I initially said that some of it just sounds like the human condition.

  117. RMS and Meme – I think the difference is you can tell these things about yourselves. DDs like mine (and sounds like MM’s DS and Advocate’s DD) can’t see those traits in themselves. For example, I know I am letting this post distract me. My DD (without implementing a few coping strategies) has no idea that a distraction has taken place or how long she was distracted or what of “importance” (like a homework assignment) might have happened while she was elsewhere.

  118. “My DD (without implementing a few coping strategies) has no idea that a distraction has taken place or how long she was distracted or what of “importance” (like a homework assignment) might have happened while she was elsewhere.”

    Yes, this. I didn’t like the article’s description of time and being always “in the moment” (as I am almost never “in the moment in the real world”). But I am always 100% wherever I am in my head (usually Planet Zuton); it is 100% absorbing, and very little input from the outside world makes it through — think the Peanuts’ teacher. And I have a very fluid sense of time — my best analogy is the old cassette tape that has gotten stretched, so sometimes it’s v e e r r r y y y y s l l o o o o o o o w w w w , and other times it’s overjustlikethat. Put those two together, and it means that I sort of float away until something pulls me back, and I have no clue how long I was gone or what happened while I was gone. It’s almost like sometimes I’m in my body and sometimes I’m not, and I don’t even realize I left it until I jerk back.

    The question about age-related decline is interesting. I do think that it will get harder. I freaking exhaust myself sometimes, because my brain is going a mile a minute and won’t shut up; even when I am in the awesome hyperfocus mode, when everything is coming together and flowing, coming out of it is almost like coming down off a high, and I am just wiped out. And then the coping skills to try to corral my pinball brain take a lot out of me as well — I think some of my frustration with work of late has just been that it’s getting harder and harder to keep myself on track.

    OTOH, it’s really the logistics and details that require so much effort to track, so I am hoping that as I get older and the kids move out and I retire, some of those demands will dramatically decrease as well. So maybe my decreased energy will be offset by a decreased load.

  119. That last one was me, LFB — I am on my computer remotely today, so I guess it didn’t recognize me.

  120. Well, I certainly didn’t recognize any of that stuff about myself (other than procrastination) as a teen or young adult or worker starting out or really before meeting you all on The Old Site. And just a couple of weeks ago a fair number of us discovered that our obsessive rumination on missteps in third grade is not a signifier that we are one step away from muttering to ourselves and shuffling along the sidewalk with our shopping cart, but in fact not uncommon in this group of similarly quirky adults.

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