Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On Expectations

I've been noticing something today:

Frankie can do things that if Evan did them would make me crazy and it only makes me tired.

Like interrupt me while I am answering a question he asked to tell me something totally unrelated to the previous conversation, the question, or the answer. I mean we have conversations that go like this:

"Do you chop onions like this?"
"You can, but it is easier if you..."
"My character on WOW has reached level 6, and I think that if I can get Brian to help me I can level-up faster. Why can't I get the onion skin off?"
"Well if you cut it in half first and then ..."
"How many days until I get my next allowance?"

Now everyone does this sometimes, but woe to those who are not Frankie who do it to me...

This thoughtful post is being interrupted to bring you the following:
I just heard one of Brian's friends say to Frankie, "When you ask a question at least give people time to answer it, unless it is a rhetorical question, in which case you should not ask it at all." To which Frankie responded, "Did you see that giant monster over the hill? Do you think my character could kill him? Probably not, but ..."

...because Frankie rather absorbs all my patience for dealing with this sort of thing, and I just might snap at them.

And it is other things too. Like earlier Frankie asked me how much chili powder he is supposed to put in with the beans*. I picked up the recipe card to see, which made him realize that the answer was right there all the time, and he doesn't need me to tell him. So he pulls the card out of my hand and starts reading it himself and asks, "Where does it say how much chili powder to put in?" This, of course, is asked while holding the card where I cannot see it.

Now if any one else were to do that to me, I would not take it well. I might snap, like I did yesterday at Evan, and complain that people shouldn't ask questions if they won't let me answer them.

But with Frankie I don't snap, although I do sigh, and I think, "Wow, he really is young for fifteen isn't he?"

What I am realizing is that this what ADD looks like. Actually, this is what severe ADHD looks like after someone has been given medication which "works wonders."

Brian just openned a box sent to him by my MIL. She was so impressed with their discussions about religion and his reasons for being an atheist that she sent him some books that she thought he might enjoy. They include: Varieties of Religious Experience by William James; The Way of the Sacred by Frances Huxley; and a short pamphlet book called Church Recipes which contains good things to take to a church potluck.
I... kid... you... not.
Brian looked at each of the books and turned to his friends to shout, "Look! My grandmother sent me bubble wrap!"
Of course Brian was being ironic.

So anyway, what I have been noticing today, is that the way that I expect someone to behave has a great deal of influence on how I respond to them. If I expect them to converse as adults (Evan and Andrew, for example) I get annoyed if they don't let me finish my sentences. However if I am dealing with a 10-year-old Druid with ADD who just happens to be trapped in a 15-year-old's body, I am much more understanding, and I almost even have a sense of humor about it.

And after re-reading this post I am wondering, do you think that ADD could be contagious?

*These are the marvelous beans brought to me by FosterAbba and Foster Eema.


  1. i don't know about ADD being contagious, but i may laugh all night about brian and your mom! i think my favorite part was the potluck pamplet! as my mother would say, that was just adding insult to injury! oh well, am glad to hear that you and your boy frankie are bonding so well. i think this is going to be a really good match for all involved. oh, i', curious, how tall is this new ten rear old of yours?

  2. Brian's comment about his presents was brilliant-- he sure has a great sense of humour!
    I'm impressed that at his age he can make impressive arguments to defend his atheism to grown-ups of two generations before him. I used to find it quite difficult at that age.

  3. Frankie sounds so much like my Slugger! He does that ask, but don't wait for an answer thing all the time. I've learned to pause when I think he's in a mood where the question won't stick. Sometimes his brain just moves too rapidly to care about anything for more than a few seconds. Though I have to say, when the meds kick in, his focus improves and he can actually carry on a consistent conversation now. Frankie's ability to do so may improve when he's at your home a bit longer. Nerves+ADD make for a very unfocused kid.

  4. I can't really comment on the contagiousness of ADD.

    I'm glad you like the beans, though. They are pretty nummy.

  5. Bubble Wrap...bahahahahahaha!


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