Guest Blogs

Does Your Child Have Tact?

Our children with ADHD may have issues with impulsive speech and social skills, but sometimes they’re really just saying what everyone else is thinking — aren’t they?

I suspect that many loyal readers of ADDitude and my blog have grown familiar with — and hopefully fond of — hearing about the hyperactive high jinks of my daughter, Natalie, and her friend Harry, both of whom have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (I can say this somewhat authoritatively, because Harry gets recognized on the street the way celebrities do!)

And, not to disappoint those fans, I have another chronicle to tell — this time of Harry’s weeklong bike ride across the state of Iowa with his mom, Victoria, which Natalie, my sister, and I watched from the sidelines, certain ones of us as raucous spectators. Riding with about 18,000 of their closest friends, this was the second year that the duo dared to take the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) challenge (on a tandem bike, mind you; how’s that for focus?). (You can read about their first biking adventure here.)

This year, Harry became somewhat famous. First, a picture of Victoria slathering his face with sunscreen made The Des Moines Register‘s website. Another day as Harry and Victoria were riding, a woman rode up beside their tandem bike. “Is this Harry?” she asked. Turns out she’s an ADDitude subscriber!

Natalie and I visited Victoria and Harry in Clear Lake, Iowa, the town that hosted the riders and their hangers-on following their second full day of pedaling. While we waited for them to spin into town, Nat alternated between swimming at an adjacent city beach and watching a steady stream of riders pass by: old and young, fat and thin, serious riders and serious drinkers. Every last one wore skintight biking shorts! It was a people watcher’s extravaganza.

My sister, Ann, a Clear Lake resident, and I sat on the curb taking it all in, sometimes exchanging a glance or raising an eyebrow, discreetly conveying messages like “Maybe that woman should have cooled off in the lake wearing something other than her white sports bra!”

Nat was less (read: not at all) discreet. In true ADHD fashion, she has a tendency to blurt out whatever’s on her mind. “Aunt Ann! Look at that old man!” or “Aunt Ann! Look at that fat lady!” Once, she simply burst into loud laughter. We knew exactly who she was looking at.

Ann and I would shush her, but sometimes we couldn’t help laughing too. After all, as Ann noted more than once that afternoon, “She’s saying exactly what I’m thinking!”

Later that night, in the privacy of a family- and friends-only dinner gathering, Harry’s dad, Steve, commented, “No one — present company excluded — looks good in biking shorts,” and nodded to his slim wife, Victoria.

They may be unattractive apparel, but we sure saw a lot of them that afternoon — I’m just grateful to have non-ADHD impulse control when witnessing people in such attire!