Leave It to Beaver
As the mother of a child with ADHD, I’ve discovered that I’ve got more in common with June Cleaver than I ever expected.
Natalie was the “Very Special Person of the Day” at school on Wednesday. In Nat’s first grade class, the VSP brings a couple of items for show and tell, a book to read to the class (and sometimes a parent to read it), an afternoon snack for the class, and gets to be the line leader for the day.
The night before, Nat and I picked out the things she wanted to share about — a chrysalis she found while rock hunting, and a “real” firefighter badge from the Hills, Iowa, volunteer fire department, that she’d charmed out of a firefighter on her last visit to Grandma’s.
While trying to choose a story that I’d read to the class, Nat found several old books that belonged to my siblings and I when we were kids. We thumbed through them, and Nat couldn’t decide on one — she wanted to take them all. So, I chose one that looked like it would tie in with the firefighter theme (that’s the librarian in me!): Leave it to Beaver, “A Little Golden Book”, copyright 1959. It probably belonged to my older brother (I’m old, but I’m not that old).
I remember the TV series the book is based on, probably from re-runs (again, I’m old, but I’m not that old) but I hadn’t revisited the Cleavers on the tube or in print as an adult. So, I couldn’t believe my own ears as I started to read:
“Beaver Cleaver was the busiest boy in town. He was busy from sun-up to sun-down. But somehow he always found time to get into trouble.”
Oh my gosh! The Beav had ADHD!
Sure enough, in the story, the Beav is impulsive, he’s a concrete thinker, and all of the adults, and even other kids are irritated and try to redirect him when he unintentionally gets in their way.
I’ve always thought that, as a mom, I’m no June Cleaver. But, maybe I’m wrong! Check out how the book ends:
“You know,” said Mr. Cleaver, “I think Beaver is growing up. Maybe he won’t be getting into so much trouble any more.”
“Maybe,” said Mrs. Cleaver. “But right now, he and the dog are digging up the beans you planted the other day.”
“My beans!” said Mr. Cleaver. And he dashed out of the house.
“Leave it to Beaver!” Mrs. Cleaver sighed.
June knows her boy well, and I sure do know my Natalie. Maybe I am a June Cleaver kind of mom, after all!