I sipped coffee while I sat on my sofa with my Bible on my lap. I was having a peaceful and prayerful time with the Lord until my tranquility was abruptly interrupted by my six-year-old son, Daniel. He did a running kamikaze diving entrance into the room and knocked a stack of Pottery Barn catalogs and my only living plant off the coffee table. He then began spinning in circles and making helicopter noises. The chaos of my day had begun.
“Brrrrrrwwwwhhhh,” Daniel said loudly. His sister shuffled sleepily into the room dragging her entire bedspread behind her. She climbed into the recliner and curled into a ball. Daniel, “the helicopter”, continued spinning, inching closer with each turn until his hands skimmed the top of her head.
“Stop touching me!” she whined.
“Breakfast time,” I said, realizing my peaceful plan for the morning was only a memory, much like my size 8 figure after 2 pregnancies. I put my hands on Daniel’s shoulders and directed him to the kitchen, but he dramatically collapsed to the floor at my touch. He kicked his legs and spun in circles on the tile. My daughter obediently made her way to the table, pulling her comforter through the spilled plant dirt.
I had briefly fantasized about serving eggs, sausage, cinnamon toast and fresh fruit for breakfast but plopped cold Pop-tarts onto paper plates instead. My children managed to consume a few calories despite spilled milk, toppled chairs, and lots of yelling. The kids did some yelling, also.
Afterwards, my daughter got dressed and I got my daily workout wrestling Daniel into his clothes. I was exhausted by the time I dropped him off at school. I felt sorry for the teacher who had to deal with him, but I was thankful for my break.
In desperation I finally decided to discuss Daniel’s behavior with our pediatrician, who was also a family friend. While we waited for our appointment Daniel knocked over another child’s block tower and annoyed everyone by continually yelling “yee haw” as he energetically swayed back and forth on a rocking horse. In the examining room he built a Lego tower and then violently knocked it down causing pieces to fly across the room.
Dr. Carter entered the room and shook my hand. “Hello.” He turned to Daniel and extended his hand, “Hey, big man.” Daniel jumped up and gave Dr. Carter “five” by slapping his hand with all his strength. I’m sure it hurt, but Dr. Carter was gracious. “Wow, you’ve gotten strong.” He turned to me as he glanced down at the chart. “What can I do for you today?”
Out of Daniel’s hearing I explained my frustrations. “He’s already repeated Kindergarten and he’s still struggling. He’s always in trouble at school and our home is in constant chaos.”
Dr. Carter didn’t hesitate. “Daniel has the classic symptoms of ADHD.” I wondered how long Dr. Carter had wanted me to bring this up.
I was skeptical of ADHD and hesitant to accept the diagnosis. “Do you really think ADHD is real? Isn’t it just a cop out for lazy or bad parents?”
“It’s real and I think Daniel could benefit from medicine.”
The thought of giving my son medicine made me cringe, but truthfully I was desperate for peace and harmony in our family. Without it, I might soon be seeking a Prozac prescription for myself. I was ashamed of these feelings and not sure what to do. I listened as Dr. Carter explained the options and referred me to a specialist.
After hours of testing by a pediatric neurologist the official diagnosis was Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type. I was going to swallow my pride and my son was going to swallow a pill.
Weeks after the diagnosis I stood in my kitchen and thought about how much life had changed. I was looking at Daniel’s “A” paper proudly displayed on the refrigerator when he walked into the room, fully dressed and ready for school. He carried an intricate Lego structure in his hands.
“Look what I built.”
“Very nice.” I hugged Daniel and he gently returned my hug.
When we sat down for breakfast, Daniel asked if he could say the blessing. “Thank you for my family and for this food. And, God, thank you that I can learn at school like everyone else and I don’t get in trouble much anymore.”
“Amen,” we all said with feeling and then enjoyed a very pleasant and calm breakfast.
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