For some time now, I've suspected Big J suffers from a learning disability; after speaking with his teacher last week, it seems that she agrees. We are tackling his lack of focus first--or, more specifically, his ability to turn his pencil into a rocket ship every six seconds.
Friends with kids, there is a bright/dark side here, as Mike and I have also recently completed a survey of Big J's behaviors, in an attempt to understand what's going on here. What we have learned is that EVERY ANNOYING THING about children is a symptom of ADD/ADHD, and based upon your willingness to medicate, it's treatable. Does he keep his closet clean? Does she fail to pick up toys in a timely manner? Is he oversensitive? Does he struggle with simple, everyday tasks? Apparently, the age of 6 = ADD. As is the age of 35.
I expect that a prescription for Ritalin is in our future, however, after talking to other first grade mom's at a happy hour last week, it was mentioned that there is a diet, or more specifically, a list of foods to AVOID, that seems to help with behaviors associated with attention deficit disorder. They mentioned having to eliminate foods such as Goldfish and tomatoes, which I found weird, but I suppose I can't consider myself a good mother unless I research options containing this decade's buzzword--"ORGANIC". I'm pretty sure I would win the Nobel Peace Prize, or whatever, if I can simply learn to grow Ritalin/tranquilizers on a pesticide-free tree.
But then, I forgot about it for a few days.
Except, you know me, Blogworld! Just like that fake, six-foot Christmas tree, sometimes these things just itch my brain like a flea bite, and the wee morning hours often find me perusing the likes of Web MD and Craigs List and that wholesale site for cheap rubber watches. Which is when I came across the ADD diet, otherwise known as the impossibly high standard for food consumption:
No dairy products, no yellow foods (bananas are white, but don't eat the yellow peel. Who. Does. That????), no junk foods, no fruit juices, no nutrasweet, no MSG, no processed meats, no fish. Cut sugar and chocolate intake by 90%. Avoid food colorings if possible.
Listen, I kind of consider myself a rock star because I buy the hormone-free milk at Sam's Club; but I draw the line at paying $7 for chemically-balanced grapes OR shooting my own cow to make sure it's fresh and unprocessed. Who am I kidding, really--I drew the line at dairy products, and I was at fat-chance-in-hell status by the time we hit the mention of junk foods. And I can't even begin to touch the diet's suggested breakfast of flavored coffee blended with ice and protein powder. I'm sure there are some of you out there that are using this to your advantage--my shock has NO MEDICAL relevance whatsoever, or any kind of judgement on the sheer number of hours it takes to sustain a modest vegetable farm. Rather, this is all about ME, and my inability to comprehend a world without McDonalds. Shoot, I'm POSITIVE my kids would choose a single happy meal over the ability to concentrate for the rest of their lives--and so in this age of organic food choices, I am going to ONE UP you a popular parenting theory, and play the "keeping my child happy" AND the "freedom of choice/individuality" cards, both of which will bite me in the ass when they become addicted to the crack they FREELY CHOSE to KEEP THEMSELVES HAPPY.
Also, I would be curious to know the extent to which this diet curbs behaviors associated with ADD? Are we talking about a 70% change, or is less than 10% a more realistic outcome? Because I'm just not sure I can shop weekly at Whole Foods for less than a 95% reversal; but speaking economically, if I can keep my organic grocery bill to the cost of a monthly Ritalin prescription, we might be on to something. Also, another sure way to get me to change my deep-fried-and-preservative ways? Make organic food CUTER. I am a sucker for product packaging, which I'm sure, is not an argument you hear much from mothers who have their children's best interests in mind. But someone's got to KEEP IT REAL for the demographic that likes it cheap and microwavable AND monogrammed with polka dots. We are people too, you know.
Was it always this....COMPLICATED? I'm fairly certain my parents didn't worry about burning holes in my brain while letting me drink Coke--based on the way they occasionally let me ride in the bed of a pick-up truck as a child. And they definitely never worried that cupcakes would cause widespread childhood obesity or dormant allergic reactions or a flaring of ADD behaviors that present themselves EXACTLY as typical childhood behaviors. It's true that we are more knowledgeable now, and there are decisions my parents would do-over, like taking 10+ girls to see the movie "Parenthood" in the theater for my 13th birthday (THINK about that movie for a second, though, I really had NO clue at the time). But feeding me Chicken McNuggets is probably not one of the things they suspected might *ruin* me.
Blogworld, I think you know me. And I'm pretty tongue in cheek. ADD is a real thing, and you know it when you see it. I'm not laughing at any of you; I'm laughing at ALL of us. Because the truth is that parenting is A LOT like herding cats, and we are trying our hardest to do it with matching outfits and sleep schedules and organic food, and organized sports. As adults, my kids *probably* won't ask me why I let them (and their FRIENDS) watch that movie with the vibrator scene, but you can BET that some of my choices will seem just as crazy.
And I'm gonna LAUGH about it. As well as blog about THEIR attempts to raise perfect children--so stick with me until 2036, when my kids are utilizing jet-pack technology to cure childhood in their off-spring, and this all comes full circle, friends.