Operation Mean Man Patrol

Not everyone understands my sweet, charming, perfectly acceptable though not-quite-typical ADHD kid.
ADHD Parenting Blog | posted by Kay Marner
Parenting ADHD Children blogger Kay Marner is mother to an ADHD daughter in Ames, Iowa

Once again, I’m writing from Lake Okoboji. This time, we’re on our family vacation—Don, Aaron, Natalie and I. We’re staying at Bridges Bay, a new family resort. It has an indoor water park and an outdoor pool. Great entertainment for busy kids.

Unfortunately, Nat had a bad experience last night—our first night here. I wasn’t right there when it happened, but from her description of the event, I’m guessing it related directly to her atypical social skills, and therefore, to her attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

I said atypical social skills, rather than poor social skills deliberately. I don’t think her social skills are all that poor. In fact, a lot of the time, her impulsiveness translates into a lack of social inhibition that is downright enviable. At other times, her lack of boundaries can be disconcerting.

Last night, once the two kids were acclimated to the area, I grabbed a lounge chair by the outdoor pool, and pulled out my book. This is what I call a vacation, I thought.

But before long, Nat came running over. “There’s a mean man in there! He yelled at me!”

“Tell me what happened,” I said.

Nat said she was swimming next to him, and he told her to “Shoo! Get away from here!” A line from my picture book, Dog Tales, ran through my mind:

“Go away,” said the man. “Go away! Get lost! Shoo!”

“What’s wrong sir?” Miss June said. “These dogs won’t hurt you!”

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening trailing Natalie like a bodyguard, keeping the Mean Man in my sights; my body between him and Natalie. She was terrified. So much for a relaxing vacation.

Why did he “shoo” her? Maybe she got a little too close, didn’t respect his personal space. Maybe she stared at his butt-ugly face for a few seconds too long. She may have even spoken to him, or more likely to his daughter, probably a three year old, whom he held and played with ‘til closing time. None of these is too terrible an offense for a little girl in a swimming pool.

I hope he’s gone today, so Operation Mean Man Patrol can be over. I want to enjoy my vacation—with my sweet, charming, perfectly acceptable though not-quite-typical ADHD kid.

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