Monday, June 3, 2013

space-time continuum

One of SB's hardest struggles as an adult with ADHD is to manage his time, or perhaps it's my hardest struggle since he likes to schlep off the responsibility of time management to me.  I try to remind myself that I don't know what it is like to be him. I compare how I see time as a linear sequence to how he views it, which is like a large, tangled thread.  He never allocates the correct amount of time for an activity and his lack of concentration stretches out mundane tasks.  What I assume is fifteen minutes can be in the range of ten to twenty minutes but what he assumes is fifteen minutes can go for an hour.

We are always the last to leave the hockey rink because he takes over an hour to shower.  No, he is not standing under the shower for the whole hour, lost in thought, but rather he distracts himself for forty-five minutes, dresses and undresses for seven minutes, and showers for eight minutes.  Twice he took well over his typical hour so that not only were we the last players to leave, but most of the staff had gone home and the lights were turned off; only the manager remained with me as I waited with steam blowing out of my ears.

It is the small things that undo me.  I know him well enough that I can plan for his typical slowness and distraction when we have obligations to meet but I can't control the little activities.  On Saturday night I made brownies for my lacrosse group when I realized that my neighbor still had my plastic container.  I asked SB to run downstairs to the store and buy another container.  I asked him to hurry because we had to leave within twenty minutes.  Ten minutes later he called me from the grocery store up the road because he forgot to go to the store that was thirty paces from our front door.  He needed me to advise him on a container.  "Get one that will hold two pans of brownies." I told him.  He returned half an hour later with two small containers that were not only significantly smaller than the brownie pans, but they were an inch tall.  I don't even know what you could store in something like that!  We were not only late to the lacrosse group, but we left the brownies at home since there was nothing to carry them in (the baking pans were glass and not an option).  Later that night when we got home, I saw him happily gobbling up brownies and had a nearly overwhelming urge to grab them from him and toss them all in the trash.  He likes to cite his effort when I get upset at missed goals but sometimes the thought does not count.

At other times I take note of how hard he has to work to focus on boring tasks like taxes and forms.  I appreciate that he can complete those tasks on his own, and under considerably more stress than most people.  He knows that setting something aside might lead to him forgetting about it entirely, followed by consequences, so he has no choice but to take up a lovely weekend morning with paperwork.  I wish that life could be easier for him but the digital age seems to make everything happen immediately and coincidentally.  Who knows, maybe one day time will no longer be thought of linearly and we'll have a new appreciation for how his brain works.  He is very smart and entertaining with diverse interests, possibly due in part to the ADHD.  If only I didn't lament the passing of time.


Gweipo said...

thank you for that post ... I can so relate to that. And the worst confession I have to make is that as a mother I often "take over" and "take control" and do stuff for him instead of letting him be autonomous and doing it himself. I'm sure that's not good for his self esteem, and it doesn't help him in the long run.
On the other hand, we'd never get anywhere on time, dressed and ready if I didn't...

architart said...

I have a dominant personality so will take over everything, which is probably why SB and I work so well together. He is smart and strong enough to keep me from running over him but he also has great use for my managing style. I don't think he has done it on purpose but most of his friends from university and beyond are very much like me. The same is not true with my friends, probably because while one SB is so much fun to be around, a room full of SB's would be disastrous to our plans.