The adjustment to the new school year has been… well… a little rocky. It’s been a month, so you’d think things would be evening out about now. Of course, if you actually knew my children, you’d realize that one month is about enough time for all unaddressed issues to come to a glorious, face-melting head of WOE and GNASHING OF TEETH, and that’s pretty much exactly how it went.
[Related: I have never wanted a long weekend to end as badly as I did this past weekend. Instead of feasting on charred meat, we spent our extra day wondering if we could, perhaps, just move away when the kids weren’t paying attention. But apparently that’s “bad parenting” or something.]
Anyway! We are ALL ABOUT the now-dreaded phrase “skills building” here at Casa Mir. It is SKILLS BUILDING to work on consuming your dinner as if silverware is not a foreign concept. It is SKILLS BUILDING to be instructed in the fine art of putting dirty clothing IN the hamper instead of NEXT TO the hamper (I have never understood that). And it is most definitely SKILLS BUILDING to learn how to make checklists for yourself if you have the attention span of a fruit fly and are constantly in trouble for forgetting to do things.
This is the fun part of an ADHD diagnosis; once you get past the guilt of not having realized your child was genuinely impaired and not just a pain in the ass (I’ll let you know when I’m over that…), you kind of go back to the essential building blocks of organizing your time and meeting goals. If Chickadee had been younger when we figured this out, probably we’d make checklists for her. But she’s in high school and she can make her own darn checklists, no matter how much she might whine about it or wander off when she’s supposed to be making one. (Checklist: Item 1: Make checklist. Item 2: Get sucked into Escher-esque infinite loop of impossibility.)
In Chickie’s case, we also have to work on the whole “realistic” piece of things; her world view can be a little… uhhhhh… rigid, maybe. Warped, sometimes, even. A checklist is only as good as the items on it, right? So we are SKILLS BUILDING our way through things like “realistic assessment” and “attainable goals” and “writing down everything” to sort of cultivate this habit of mindfully approaching the day.
So. This weekend. Lord, this weekend SUCKED. The aforementioned one-month-into-school meltdown was in full force for BOTH children, and that meant that our world was overfull with DRAMA and SADNESS and WHY-ME and YOU-ARE-SO-MEAN and all of that sort of delightful stuff which absolutely no one tells you about when you’re holding a tiny baby and thinking they smell like rainbows.
By last night, things had calmed down, issues had been resolved, and I was no longer plotting my escape. As bedtime approached, Otto struck a deal with Chickadee that if she was ready for bed on time AND had made up her next day’s checklist, she could regain possession of her iPod. (Do not ask me why she lost it in the first place. I don’t remember. But assume that life sans iPod is a fate worse than death, because she assures us that it is.) I reminded Chickie that she had to get a booster shot this morning, and she nodded and headed up the stairs.
In short order she had returned, and solemnly presented us with her list for today:
1. Wake up
2. Eat breakfast
3. Take pills
4. Put in contacts and shower
5. Get dressed
6. Brush teeth
7. Pack bag and go downstairs
8. Get in car
9. Sit in germy waiting room
10. Be stabbed by unapologetic nurse
11. Go to school
12. Get a late pass
13. Knock on door
14. Enter class awkwardly
15. Ask about late lab
16. Get an unclear answer
17. Finish school day
18. Go to marching band practice
19. Come home and be confused about bio
I am still trying to decide if this is her being passive in her own life—and requires further SKILLS BUILDING to take a more active role in areas where she may need more assistance—or if we should be rewarding her ability to predict the most likely reality with such clarity. It’s a conundrum, it really is.
Of course, I’m holding her cell phone hostage until she’s caught up in bio, so I’m thinking she may find a way to figure it all out. Fingers crossed.