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An Outlet for ADHD Energy

Natalie could be jumping on a new trampoline while I relax, but instead, she’s looking to me: Entertain me! Stimulate me! Make me happy!

Natalie’s been telling everyone she sees her sad news: “My trampoline is gone!” For a girl with ADHD energy to burn, and for the mom who counted on it to keep her happy and busy, this loss is a biggie.

The trampoline, a gift for Natalie’s fourth birthday, lasted through several broiling Iowa summers and harsh Iowa winters, before caving in just two weeks before her ninth. Actually, the frame, supports, springs, and trampoline mat were still fine, but the safety enclosure, never a very good one to start with, finally caved in under the pressure of two 12-year-olds, Aaron and a friend, playing a made-up ball game while hanging on to it. At our house, no safety net=no jumping allowed.

I made some phone calls and surfed the Web in search of a new enclosure, and found that a new net would cost nearly as much as replacing the whole trampoline. We decided this trampoline had to go, and I hit Craigslist. Soon a dad arrived with his tools and his pick-up truck and hauled the old trampoline away.

Will we buy a new one? I would say yes in a minute, but Don’s not so sure. Negotiations are taking place, slowly. Don likes the idea of having more space in the yard and of one less obstacle to mow around. And, of course, he dislikes the idea of spending money.

“Let’s wait a couple of weeks, and see how much Natalie misses it before we decide,” he says. Sure, I think, a couple of weeks where he’s only home one, maybe two of Natalie’s waking hours each day. I’m the one who will hear the pleas, deal with the boredom and the lack of motor stimulation.

I picture trying to sit and relax on the patio, hamburgers on the grill. It’s that difficult time before supper. Nat could be jumping, I could relax, but instead, Nat’s looking to me: Entertain me! Stimulate me! Make me happy!

Then again, I’m the one who quit my job, causing us to need to think twice, or three times, before making a major purchase. So I can’t argue too much.

Don recognizes the various needs the trampoline fulfills given Nat’s ADHD and sensory issues. He even wondered aloud if we could make a case for it being medically necessary and therefore — What? Tax deductible? I don’t know where he was going with that line of thinking. But it proved Don does understand Natalie’s needs, and is considering them.

Time will tell whether Don — and his checkbook — will adjust to the idea of a new trampoline, or whether Natalie will have to expend her ADHD energy without it.

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