It’s Not About the Butter

It’s not just about the butter.  I know I tweeted (@hugyourbrain) this morning that I was debating whether to ask Lily to put the butter away; the butter she left open on the kitchen floor. (Yes, the floor.  For some reason, she likes to eat breakfast squatting in the kitchen floor, like a third-world peasant.  I think it’s because there’s a heating duct under the kitchen tile and it’s warm there.)  

Anyway, I was already 30 minutes late to work.  The plan was to take the girls to play at a friend’s house on my way to work.  Lily’s sister was already showered, dressed and fed.  I think I only had to give her instructions twice.  But Lily… Oh Lily… the butter on the floor was just the latest in this morning’s string of things left undone.  I really think that Lily doesn’t know she’s going to be late until it’s too late.  She just seems to have no sense of time passing.  

I give her plenty of prompts.  We put digital clocks in every room.  But she just seems incapable of planning, initiating and sequencing tasks, all typical of a kid with extreme difficulties with Executive Function.  She might get ready on time, if I got up an hour earlier and got myself ready so that I could follow her around and help her stay on task and pick up after herself.  But it’s all about time… balancing my time.

During the school week, our solution has been to give her ADHD medication as soon as she wakes up, so that it kicks in soon enough to help her focus.

But, this morning, it’s vacation and she took her meds late.  So, five minutes before my planned departure time, she’s wrapped in a towel and dripping wet.  She’s mad that she has to go downstairs to find clean underwear in a basket of clean clothes.  She needs to brush her teeth, but can’t find the toothpaste.  She needs to find her hat and put lotion on her face. She’s also searching for her new duct tape wallet that she wants to take to show her friend. She needs a jacket that I know she left in my bathroom floor when she took a shower the night before.  She can’t find the cool grey Puma sneakers she wants to wear.  

Lily knows that we’re waiting for her and knows that I am frustrated, so then she gets frustrated with herself and the situation starts to escalate.

That’s why I debated mentioning the butter.  I did finally ask her to put the butter away and she did do it.  But I decided not mention the bath towel she dropped in the floor.  Gotta pick the battles… or get someone to invent that frontal lobe robot to follow her around.

In writing this, I realize that some of her searching this morning could have been eliminated by Dr. K’s ADHD mantra–Same Way Every Time.  If she put the toothpaste back in the same place every time, she could always find it.  That’s why I hang my keys up when I walk in the door. She and I just talked about this and she agreed.  I might try to hit that idea a little harder.  I think I also need to break out my Smart but Scattered again for some good reminders on supporting kids with EF difficulties.

Ha,ha… my husband just yelled down from our room, asking if I know where our toothpaste is!  Maybe Lily knows… or maybe, quite possibly, she doesn’t.

Posted on March 30, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. luv it – got my laugh, my boys are now graduating from hi schl and things seem to have jelled the last few yrs – train and give them the skills they need – IS WORTH IT ;)bo

  2. You made it to the other side!

  3. Glenna, I'm so impressed with your executive function to handle this so calmly! I l love how you just decided to pick your battles.

    I'm off to look up the ADHD mantra that you mentioned – that sound very helpful.


  4. Yes, my daughter's Executive Function issues are often a big challenge for my own emotional regulation! 🙂

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