Friday, April 6, 2012
Riding with AD(H)D
Angelic and very average.
Suddenly the battles of everyday life seem faint.
The love I feel goes back to being unconditional.
Today AD(H)D had been taunting its ugly form: obnoxious behaviour, poor self control, maximum self endangering, to name a few. Surely any child would misbehave, unable to control himself and endanger himself once in a while. But those of you who are familiar with the condition know exactly what I’m talking about. And those of you who don’t better read on. I hope by the end of this post, you’d be a little more insightful. And less ignorant or critical.
Among the most troublesome aspects of AD(H)D is impulsiveness. Maddening impulsiveness.
Bicycle riding was one of those.
For my 4 y.o. boy, bicycle riding –with small training wheels- consisted of an array of requirements: a short sleeved T-shirt, a pair of trousers, sunglasses and a police’s hat (now this is another story on obsession). Thankfully -I think- he didn’t like to wear his police hat anymore now, because he got so annoyed by people calling him: “Mr. Policeman!” or stranger’s remarks such as: “Yes, Sir!” and saluting.
At the top of his fondness of bicycle riding, it would be the first thing that crossed his mind, before he opened his eyes in the morning or after napping. He’d mumble something that sounded like “..cycle..” a few seconds before waking up.
Of course, bicycle riding is a very good exercise for any child, especially for my boy. It is even encouraged by his therapists. It trains his muscles & balance, gives him proprioceptive stimulations and visual-spatial sensory inputs, etc. Most importantly, it consumes some of his excessive energy, thus alleviating his hyperactive tendency.
But unfortunately, in our case, bicycle riding had its own tolls. When Darren was deeply immersed in pedaling his bike and speeding, he became unaware of his surroundings. All he saw was the one thing he was focusing on: the road ahead (and nothing from other directions); or a bump on the road that he was aiming to ride over (and not the toddler standing nearby); or speeding while looking back over his shoulders to see if his friend was close enough to catch up with him, and completely unaware of that motorcycle going his way just few meters away!
You see, Darren is a major copycat who LOVES to immitate whatever scene he finds amusing. At one time, when he wanted to immitate what his friend did, as usual. Now this friend of his was a very skillful 5 y.o. who rode a bicycle without training wheels, speeded as fast as the wind and was very good at estimating space and timing. At one point, this friend crossed the road at a not-quite-so-safe-a-distance in front of a passing car (what an idea!!). From where I stood, about 30 meters away, I saw Darren saw what he had done, and I had a really bad feeling about it. I can still feel my heart throbbing out of rhythm. Who was I kidding? Of course, being Darren, he would find that movement ultimately inspiring and he immitated it right away. It didn’t occur to him that the car would have been so much nearer by the time he crossed the road.
So he did. Rode his bike across the road, in front of that threatening car. I saw the car’s brake lights lit. Glorious, bright red colour. No tires skreeching of course, after all the road was small, just enough for 2 cars going the opposite directions to pass through at the same time. The car was going slowly, slow enough to hit its brakes just in time. Darren made it across the road, safely and soundly. With mommy’s life span a few years shorter.
Mommy’s wrath and songs of fury and consequence immediately ensued.
But it wasn’t the only time such event happened. There were some very similar events afterwards. With fists clenched to prevent from pulling out my hair out of sheer desperation, I kept giving the same consequence: much (WAY MUCH) narrower range of riding zone allowed until I deemed his riding acceptable (usually just 1-2 days, depending on his appetite on danger-testing).
Such event hasn’t been happening in the past couple of weeks. It might be because of his new understanding. Or it might be the rainy days that prevented him to ride thus reducing his chance to do this trick. I really don’t have a clue.
And that’s just about bicycle riding.
So here I am.
Watching him sleep.
Silently hoping that he would find ways to manage his differences and keep himself safe.
Whispering a little prayer, that none of these challenges nor any parental shortcomings would scar him or make him feel less, because (quoting Temple Grandin):
DIFFERENT IS NOT LESS.