Disclaimer: I don't actually believe in the diagnosis of ADD. I think some of us are just wired differently. The term, however, does fit us well.....
One of my favorite radio personalities is Glenn Beck. He is funny, smart, sarcastic as all get out*, and he has attention problems. Has all his life. When he states "I'm just riddled with ADD today", I know I'm in for an auditory ride. Talk about jumping from subject to subject! It's brain gymnastics crossed with meth. All, without a single drug.
And, I love it. Because, deep down, I think I have the same problem.
Take a typical day of cleaning** in my house. Which reminds me, I FINALLY, last year, figured out why people hire maids. I thought, all along, I was doing what maids do. But, after decluttering the casa one day, I realized I had simply uncovered either an excavation site for a dinosaur dig or was living on dirt floors. Either one was gross. But, my "AHA!" moment was that the maid would CLEAN the dirt I exposed by picking up the Fisher Price monument that previously littered the house. OOOOOHHHHH YYYYEEAAAHHH, I get it***!
But, back to cleaning, uh, decluttering. I do this regularly, when I'm not too tired to get the Indianan Jones whip**** out and threaten my children. It seems to be such a daily job. I mean, come on people, couldn't you, just ONE day, wake up and not produce ANY mess?
Since this is a pipe dream, I forge on, lest we find ourselves surrounded by the odorific funk of a bloated animal beside the road in the August heat of Texas. NOT good*****.
The problem is that I'm either suffering from ADD or I am in the beginnings of dementia. I will pick up a stuffed animal, ostensibly to put it away where one of my sons should have to begin with, and start walking in the direction of said room. I make it about three paces and see a book that needs to go to an entirely different room, along with a plastic spoon that needs to find it's home in a cabinet two feet in front of me.
I manage to get the cabinet open and I'm interrupted by "I'M DONE!" I head for the bathroom, wipe a smallish bottom, wash my hands, and hear the phone ring. By the time I finish with potty duty and reach the phone, there is no one on the other end.
Since I'm now in the kitchen, I look around and realize the dishes need to be cleaned from both breakfast and lunch. As I stack the dishwasher, I hear the dryer cycle end. I move toward the laundry room. Once I've moved all the clothing out of the dryer and put another load in the washer, I remember I need to make a phone call.
Walking BACK into the kitchen, I find the number and dial the phone. After a lengthy conversation of three minutes, I literally have to figure out what I was doing prior to the phone call. I have no clue.
I look around the room, hoping something, ANYTHING, will jog my memory. Thankfully, I see the open dishwasher and finally finish stacking everything.
Now we are deep into the afternoon and the day is really pretty much finished, in terms of household duties, because we have carpool, homework, sometimes a practice (or two), dinner, baths, and bed. If I'm lucky enough not to fall asleep after trying to create the "perfect" bedtime routine******, I can assess the "progress" I've made.
Here's what I find:
1. From early in the afternoon, in the midst of being called for booty-wiping duty, I have left two items on the bathroom counter. They have been joined by a plastic frog from a birthday party, which I'm pretty sure didn't jump there itself, a pair of Thomas the Tank Engine underwear, and toothbrushes. And, there is pee on the toilet seat--AGAIN.
2. Moving to the laundry room, I discover the clothes from the dryer. They made it into a basket earlier in the day but are now wrinkled beyond recognition. Since I HATE ironing, they get scheduled for another pass through the wonder dryer*******! The clothes in the washer will have to wait. If the load mildews, it'll be, conveniently, still in the washer, sent back through another cycle sometime in the future.
3. As I exit the laundry room, I realize I've found the plastic spoon I was about to put in the cabinet before the babe needed his posterior cleaned. I literally don't remember moving this spoon from the kitchen, to the bathroom, to the laundry room. Grossed out, it goes back to the kitchen, to join the dinner dishes in the dishwasher. At least one thing in the house ended up, almost, where it belongs!
4. As I enter the TV/play room to finally lie down and relax for a few moments, I see that a silent tornado entered the area sometime between noon and seven pm. It made no noise, but it threw crayons, paper, trucks, Legos, and blocks all about. It also disturbed the shelf of DVDs, displaced the TV remote, and took out every blanket and, handily, piled them in one spot, pseudo-fort like. When it ate a snack, it didn't bother to pick up any of the dishes. In disgust, I close the door and vow to forget the whole, sordid mess. A glass of wine should help!
5. Opening the refrigerator reminds me of my need to clean out long-since expired foods. I start examining the contents of the fridge, after a generous pour of wine, and realize there is a stuffed animal in the meat drawer. This jogs my memory, reminding me that the very first thing I picked up to put away this morning was a stuffed animal. Now, I just need to figure out if I put it there or if the tornado monster did it when he came for a piece of string cheese...
My day has come full circle! And I realize why I feel a bond with the mouse in the kid's book "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie"--he's obviously consumed by ADD, too, and his days are completely circular, just like mine! I feel for that little mouse. Obviously, he's not getting anything much accomplished, either. But, at least HE gets a cookie at the end.
I recently read an article that stated I should keep track of the tasks I accomplish in a day, so I feel better about what's been done. The idea was conceived by the writer to help us poor souls of the Mommy-set understand that we are actually getting more done in a day than we realize. That's a great idea since, as a Mom, I hardly ever finish a project to the point of satisfaction.
So, I decide to give this a try. By the end of the day, I have managed to write down one thing: "made phone call to dentist to reschedule appointment for child's tooth to be fixed"********. Then I accidentally lost the list.
I'm sure I'll find it, someday in the future, when I manage to get to the bottom of the baskets of dirty laundry, under the clothes which have mildewed to the point of looking like some science experiment in the lab of a major pharmaceutical company.
At least there, my mildew would serve a purpose....
Here, in the Nowell household? Not so much.
*Yes, I speak Texan.
**Ha, ha. I made a funny. People would line up and pay good money to see me do this.
***But, I'm still WAY TOO CHEAP to act on it. So, don't take off your shoes when you enter Casa de Nowell, lest you track home dirt.
****A toy, with a plastic handle and fabric "whips", that plays the theme song to the movie. ALMOST, but not quite, as annoying as Helen Reddy songs.
*****This is currently the smell emulating from the Prius. That is why I'm forcing the good people at Car Spa to take my credit card and clean it for me. Then it will smell like dead animal and baby powder.
******This is a myth. Any person who writes about creating perfect bedtime routines has never raised three kids simultaneously. I'm sorry, you can't read age-appropriate books to each one, in their own room, and have the other two not run around the house, buck naked, waving their penises at one another. That pretty much rules out "peaceful".
*******Can you say "steam cycle"? Specifically designed for people with ADD who can't manage to get the clothes on hangers or laid flat right after the cycle completes. In a word: ME!
*******A permanent tooth. Partially broken by a kick to the head and contact with the floor. Result: status as a hillbilly until the dentist appointment.