Thursday, August 29, 2013

ADD and Decisions

Do you have ADD or know someone who has ADD?

Have you ever noticed how hard decision making is for you or your friend/spouse/child with ADD?  I'm not talking about life-threatening, should I pull the plug or not decisions.  I'm talking butter or margarine decisions, or coffee, tea or milk decisions.  Decisions that to any perfectly ordinary person wouldn't even register as a decision.

I suffer with minor and semi-major (but not should we bomb another country) decisions on a day-to-day basis.

I used to think this made me neurotic and I would laugh about this "quirk" with my friends so that my irritating behavior wouldn't completely turn them against me.  Sure I'm paralyzed over which movie/restaurant/bar to go to, but I can joke about it so what's the harm?



In college this "quirk" almost delayed my graduation.  I was a serious student and studied all of the time.  I loved school, but more than five times during the course of my college career I took a class that sounded great, bought the $50-$150 text, sat in on the first week of classes, then panicked.  It was harder/easier/less interesting/more ridiculous than I had originally thought and I worried, should I continue on and trust that it will get better or should I bail?  Usually, I tormented myself for a good two weeks until a major assignment was due and then go to the professor in tears.  By the time I finally dropped the course and heaved that sigh of relief, it was too late to enroll in another class and I had to eat the cost of the dropped class.  At the end of four years I had just enough credits to graduate.  One more dropped course and I may have needed to return the following fall.

Not good planning, but this had nothing to do with planning.  It had everything to do with trusting my instincts and making decisions with which I could live.

After college, I did exactly the same thing only now I couldn't decide which city to move to with which friends.  This nearly cost me a good handful of wonderful friendships.  The decision had relatively little to do with the city or the friends or even a potential job opportunity and everything to do with doubt and worry and option paralysis and, I suspect, ADD.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not using ADD as an excuse for my behavior, I just understand myself a bit more.  Give me too many open-ended possibilities and I feel like a mouse in an IKEA warehouse staring up at a looming city of cheap wood and metal stacked to the ceiling.  That's when I start rocking myself in a corner trying to self-soothe.

Obviously, this trend in decision making still haunts me, but at middle-age I've managed it better (although with two school-age children, this can be a challenge).  I worry less and get over it quicker.  I've also lessened the opportunities for paralysis (I don't go to IKEA very often and when I do, I only drink decaf beforehand and keep the aromatherapy oils on hand).

Another thing I did in college - and sometimes still do - was over-research my options.  It was a way to delay the decision, but also put me into what ADDitude Magazine calls "attention surplus disorder."  

Does any of this sound like you or your friend or partner?  

ADDitude offers some lovely options for relieving the chest-tightening anxiety caused by decision-making, but I have to say their options aren't all that helpful.  They suggest making a pro/con list, prioritizing, thinking long term/big picture, not acting on impulse, and (my favorite) making a decision with confidence.

The reason I find these suggestions unhelpful and frankly hilarious is because if someone was able to prioritize, think big picture, not act on impulse, and make a decision with confidence, that person would not have ADD!  On top of that, I know how to stack a pro/con list  so that it is exactly even on both sides.  Completely useless.

I wish I had an answer for you, you lovely ADD brothers and sisters of mine.

The best advice I can give is to find a quiet place and meditate, if you can, or draw, free write, bake, garden.  Go for a run or swim or just take a walk.  Play a video game or watch a dumb movie.  Get away from the decision making and just be.

Picture yourself happy.

What does that look like?

Chances are you envision yourself putting butter on your toast instead of margarine, drinking that coffee with a splash of that milk and feeling really happy about that decision.  If nothing else, you've calmed the hell down.

If you have other useful advice for the option-paralyzed ADDer, I'd love to hear it.  Leave me a comment.  I promise I'll respond.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

End of Summer Give-away Winners Announcement

Hi Y'all,

Exciting news today:  We have two winners of the End of Summer Give-away contest!!





Congratulations Laura and Ana!

Laura wins the $25 gift card to Amazon, the $20 gift card to the store of her choice, a 3 month supply of a Bioscience product, and a 3 month ad on Jen's blog Defining My Happy.

Ana wins the spa kit, which includes artisan made hand soaps and lotion from Peace of the Earth (one of my favorite Louisville-owned stores) and a pedicure kit.

From Jen, Cindy, Kate and me, thank you to everyone who participated in our first-ever give-away.  It was great fun.

Winners, we'll be in touch with you so we can send you your prizes.

Happy Thursday,

Amy

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to school they go!



Summer vacation . . . finally, it's over!

I'm assuming that most of my parent readers are currently:
a.) getting a long-awaited pedicure
b.) finally taking an uninterrupted shower
c.) taking a nap
d.) all of the above, simultaneously (good on you, multitasker).

For my part, I have gone to coffee with a friend

AND

gone to lunch with a friend.

This isn't boding well for my writing routine, but hey, everyone needs to eat and preferably with friends.

Let me tell you a little about the last days of summer vacation with my kids, just to put my sigh of relief into perspective (and remember, my son had a head injury just weeks ago -- it didn't get much better, but thankfully, not much worse).

As soon as my son was stitched up and recovering, I headed off to the BlogHer conference in Chicago.  On my last morning there, my husband called to tell me our daughter had lice.  Remember how we had a family lice crisis not that long ago?  Well, my daughter had it worse this time.  In fact, for two weeks straight - no exaggeration - I washed and combed and combed and combed my daughter's hair.  Every.  Freakin'.  Day.  RID three times.  Cetaphil once.  Coconut oil with a Saran Wrap mummy cap overnight (basically, I wrapped her head in layers of plastic and said, "Sweet dreams, Pumpkin.").  I combed with a nit comb.  I combed with a standard plastic comb.  I combed with the lights on and the lights off.  I combed with my readers and looked like Homer Simpson balancing his checkbook.  I combed without glasses.  After two weeks, my daughter (who is 9) and I were both in tears so I called our doctor and asked for help.  A weekend and $55 later, we shampooed my girl's head yet again, but this time with crazy poison prescription shampoo called Sklice.  It worked.  And just in time for school to begin.  Whew.



We didn't suffer any more bodily harm over the past couple of weeks, but I may be permanently damaged from the noxious shampoo, the hours of standing and crouching and staring at hair, and from a sore throat induced by yelling at my kids to stop wrestling and arguing whenever I didn't plan an activity (like combing hair).

Last week I asked my son to stop talking for 5 minutes.  He began asking me a question immediately after my request.  Last week we played the "quiet game" in the car.  Both of my kids "paused" the game to ask questions (my son) or deride my son (my daughter).  Last night, I bribed my kids not once, but twice to stop fighting.  The first time was at Target: they both earned a junky snack.  The second time was at home during dinner (they each earned a quarter -- thank goodness they don't know going rate for bribes).

So, yes, it was bittersweet sending them back to school this morning.  They are both growing up fast and they were both nervous and excited to have new teachers.  I was proud and nervous, too.  But I am hoping that with the kids back in school my brain will bounce back from its attention-deprived summer, that my shoulders will resettle in the down position, and my kids might actually be too tired at night to say, "I'm bored," and argue about who gets the couch and who gets the squishy chair.  If not, I may bribe their new teachers to make them run a few more laps at P.E.

I'll load them up with junk food and quarters.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

End of Summer Give-away Update: Prizes!

End of Summer Give-away Update

Here's what you could win:
  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • Spa package, including artisan-made lotions & soaps
  • $20 Gift Card to store of your choice
  • 3 months free ad space on Jennifer's blog, Defining My Happy (promote business or blog!)
  • 3 months Bioscience Product (www.creativebioscience.com)
  • Possible mystery prizes.
Please follow all of the lovely ladies sponsoring the give-away through Bloglovin', Facebook & Twitter.



Click below to enter 
Contest ends 8/20


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 12, 2013

End of the Summer Give-away!

Hey Y'all,

I've teamed up with three fab bloggers to do a little something nice for all of our readers:

The End of the Summer Give-away!

I will announce the specific prizes in a follow-up post, but just know that you could win:
  1. Gift cards to cool stores
  2. Products! Products! Products!
  3. Ad space on one of our blogs
All you need to do is hit the "Enter" button below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet your bloggy give-awayers:



top row: Jennifer at Defining My Happy & Kate at Nested
bottom row: Moi & Cindy at Everyday Underwear


The give-away will end at midnight on August 20th (that's next week, people!), so enter now.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Shock and awe. Safe and sound.

Summer is winding down.

Well, technically summer doesn't end until September, but summer vacation from elementary school is winding down.  Can you feel my shoulders start to relax, see the wine glass in my hand, hear the maniacal exhaustion laughter?  Don't misunderstand.  I love my kids with an intensity that battles Benedict Cumberbatch's glare.  But, I miss writing (and although I could get up at 5:00 a.m. or stay up past midnight to write, I'm too dang tired after a full day with the kids, and their many friends).  I also miss quiet.


     So intense


The past few weeks have been especially busy/harrowing.  I think busy-harrowing is my new normal.  Here are a few of the emotions I have had since last I posted, all experienced in a three hour period one fateful Thursday:

Fear
For those of you who don't follow my personal feed on Facebook, you may not know that a moment of turning my back lead to a trip to the ER.  It began with when I met my friend Kristina and her two adorable pixies at the Kentucky Science Center with my two munchkins.  The kids played for a good 15-20 minutes in the lobby, just putting themselves in bubbles, watching the giant pendulum, and staring at the mesmerizing Gravitron.  This machine is inside a glass case the size of a soda vending machine.  In it, a machine with pulleys and levers and shoots and gears moves a series of balls up and down.  My son and his friend went to the bathroom with K and on the way back, Toby ran to me.  I extended my arms to catch him, but when he missed me, I turned my back.  Then I heard the thud.  Then screaming.  My son had run head-first smack into the Gravitron case.  My daughter saw it and said he tripped and crashed his head into the metal corner.

Panic
I dropped my purse and grabbed my boy, pulling him into my lap as he cried and screamed.  It was a loud thud.  A sickening sound.  I knew he was in pain.  Kristina was kneeling down talking to him as I rocked and held him.  I saw my daughter pacing and told K I thought she was freaking out, so K went to tend to her and her kids.  I caught the eye of the employee working the snack stand.  He stared back.  When K came back she asked Toby to move his hands so she could see his head.  When he did, he saw the blood and screamed more.  I saw the blood and nearly fainted.  Kristina leaped into action.  I caught the eye of the employee again: "Um, can you call someone?!!!"

Terror
Eight staff member descended on us.  One man, the head of guest relations, was incredibly kind and helpful.  He knelt with me, brought ice and paper towels, water bottles and food so I wouldn't pass out.  I thought I was going to pass out.  My head rushed.  Kristina instructed the staff to call EMS.  She called my husband.  As I started to keel over, K took Toby and held him and spoke calmly to him, telling him about how her daughter crashed into a glass table last year and is now fine.  No scar.  EMS arrived.  My husband arrived.  We discussed our options.  The EMS staff checked out the wound and said he definitely needed stitches.  The ice had staved off the bleeding, but his poor face was covered in blood.  My husband saw our son's skull through the wound.  EMS brought a gurney and strapped down my boy's head, put a collar on his little neck, and strapped down his torso.  He chose my husband to ride in the ambulance with him, which made me a little sad and a little relieved. At this point I looked down at my shirt and noticed I was covered in blood.  But, those wonderful people at KSC brought me and my entire family t-shirts (and gave me my money back on the tickets.  And gave my son an cool toy from the gift shop) so I could change at the hospital.  I thanked everyone for their kindness and followed the ambulance in the minivan.  Kristina watched my daughter for the afternoon.

Relief
After I finally found parking at the children's hospital, ON THE ROOF!!, I located my family in the ER and was happy to see my son sitting up, answering questions that the doctor and attending nurses asked him.  No concussion, no traumatic head injury, but stitches.  Yes, stitches.  Seven of them.  We sat with Toby as doctors and nurses and a wonderful Child Life Specialist came in.  If you have never heard of a Child Life Specialist, they are walking miracles.  It is their job to calm down children in the hospital.  This particular woman came in with a kit and showed Toby what stitches looked like and let him touch the stitches on a Burt doll.  She also let him explore the instruments the doctor would use to sew him back together.  She also gave him toys and stuffed animals and let him watch Phineas and Ferb on her iPad while he had surgery.  He fell asleep.  Apparently this is a common defense mechanism.  

Exhaustion
When our entire family returned home, we couldn't move.  Not one of us.  My husband didn't return to work and we just all collapsed on the couch with the dogs and 3 mindless superhero tv shows.  I held my boy close to me and kissed the crown of his head.


The next day, Toby was back to normal with the exception of the stitches and a Wolverine bandaid on his forehead.  He was silly and funny and loud.



                                         
The next day: all better

This is parenthood, my friends.  The shock and awe of 24 hours.  The worry and fear and disbelief and guilt followed closely on the heels by laughter and The Avengers.  I know that I will turn my back again one day, many days, and most days it will be inconsequential, but knowing I can't always protect my kids, even when I'm right beside them, makes me thankful for all times when they're perfectly safe and sound.  Even when they drive me crazy.