Peanut Butter in the Bathtub

Living with a twice exceptional kid who has ADHD & Executive Functioning difficulties means that many times the final step of any process is never completed.  Toilet is never flushed.  Bath never drained.  Milk sitting out.  Medicine bottles without lids.  This gets more exaggerated when Lily has a friend over.

Lily doesn’t have a lot of close friends.  Her best friend moved away when she was 2nd grade and she still hasn’t gotten over it.  Her old BFF was the perfect partner for Lily—calm, organized and wise.  Lily hasn’t found anyone to take her place.  But there’s a girl who lives nearby who often asks Lily to play.  

She is similar to Lily in some ways… she can be unfocused, but is very creative.  I like that they play in an age-appropriate, creative, imaginative way.  It’s never about boys, clothes, makeup or cell phones.  They climb trees, ice skate, build forts and invent craft projects.  

This girl spent the night recently and the two of them made a path through the house, strewn with their creative projects, which I only discovered later.  I was out of the picture because I tweaked my back earlier in the day and was stuck laying down, waiting out the muscle spasms.  Little did I know what was going on upstairs.  I should have guessed.

The next morning, I was bummed to see that it looked like a tornado had gone through the house.  The dining room table was covered with their art project that involved a hot glue gun, toothpicks and paint. They had made pancakes and there was pool of syrup in the microwave, a plate of half-eaten pancakes on the floor, and a glass of syrup stuck to the stovetop.  There were costumes all over the living room floor and in the office, tape, scissors and glue sticks were spilled out of a drawer.  The final straw came when I went to take a bath, which I thought would be easier on my back, and found a ring of something disgusting in the tub.    Turns out it was peanut butter.  Of course.

The girls apparently had a ‘spa’ in the bathroom.  Their crusty bowl of peanut butter and chocolate was still on the bathroom counter.  

On one hand, I admire their creativity, but on the other, I was furious  The house was spotless 2 days ago, because I splurged and had a cleaning person come in.  Now, it was trashed again.  

Not that she doesn’t make messes constantly anyway, but when Lily has a friend over, she becomes so focused on playing that she thinks of nothing else.  She doesn’t stop to think things through. Lily was so pre-occupied with having fun with her friend that it didn’t occur to her that giving each other peanut butter-chocolate facials was probably not such a good idea.  Cleaning up her messes doesn’t even cross her mind.

I brought this up with Dr. K in our session with him this week.  As soon as I started, Lily began to get angry and defensive.  Dr. K stopped her and asked her to listen to what I had to say without getting emotional.  They’ve been working on this a lot lately and Lily is getting much better at controlling her emotional response to criticism.  

Dr. K tells her to put a ‘mellow bubble’ around herself when she listens.  He also tells her she has to learn that it’s okay for people to get upset with her when she makes mistakes. If she doesn’t use the tools she has and makes a mistake that affects other people, they will get upset with her and she needs to apologize and try to do better next time.  All good lessons for ADHD folks, who sometimes go through life with people upset with  them for being late, forgetting things and making messes.

As far as the slumber party mess-making, Dr. K reminded Lily about one of his mantras for ADHD kids.. DO IT NOW.  I think Lily usually intends to clean up her messes ‘later’ but then she forgets.

His other advice for ADHD kids—SAME WAY EVERY TIME, an attempt to create routine and reduce forgetfulness.

It was a great discussion and Lily is making huge strides in controlling her emotions, but I don’t think there’s an end to the mess-making anytime soon.

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Posted on March 22, 2011, in Emotional Regulation, Executive Function, Gifted, Twice Exceptional and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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