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“The ADHD Storm Sweeps In. The ADHD Storm Sweeps Out.”

Teenagers experience intense emotions. Their ups are in the stratosphere, and their downs are deep and sorrowful. Then, just as quickly as they’re overcome with these feelings, they are over them and on to the next. Their parents? Not so much.

Last Friday night was busy. Laurie was working, so my whole evening was spent driving the kids to and from parties and plays. And by the time we got home late that night, I had successfully ticked off most of my kids.

It started when pick-up time began. I had to bring Jayden with me because he’s not old enough (or at least mature enough) to be home alone. So he’s upset that he had to turn off his show as we drive to pick up Jasmine from a party. And though I’m on time, Jasmine thinks I’m early.

“But we just started playing ‘Duck-Duck-Goose,” she whines.

“I know, Baby, but the invitation said the party ends at 9pm.”

“But we just started playing ‘Duck-Duck-Goose.”

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“Baby, quit arguing and get your shoes on. We’re not going to be on time to pick up Isaac.”

“But we just started playing…”

At this point I grab a barefoot Jasmine in one hand, her shoes in the other, and thank her hosts for the invitation. Then I fling her in the car and zoom over to the high school to pick up Isaac from his play, which ended fifteen minutes ago. When I finally arrive, he asks if he can go to IHOP with his cast mates.

“I just drove here to…” I start to say. Then I take a deep breath and try to compose myself. “Who’s going?”

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“Don’t know.”

“Which IHOP?”

“Don’t know.”

“Until when?”

“Don’t know.”

“Get in the car.”

So now here are the four of us driving home in silence after a long day – three kids ticked off at me, and me ticked off that they’re ticked off. Once we get home, I retreat to the bedroom to take a few minutes to compose myself, because regardless how “fathered out” I might be, I still have to coordinate every step of the bedtime routine. But before I work up the nerve, there’s a knock at the door. Jayden comes in and asks if I want him to bring me a snack. Then Jasmine rushes in and gives me a hug and a kiss and thanks me for taking her to the party. Then Isaac comes in and wants to tell me all about the play.

“I don’t get it,” I tell Laurie once the kids have gone to bed. “What are these mind games these kids are playing on me?

“They’re adolescents and preadolescents,” she says. “They might be mad, but it passes quickly. You’ve got to let this roll off your back.”

Without any other reasonable explanation, I agree with her. I’m sure having ADHD isn’t doing their teenage hormones any favors. My head reels from their hissy fits, and within the hours it takes me to get over it, they’ve already moved on and probably had at least one more hissy fit.

Case in point, Isaac comes in our bedroom to say good night. “Oh, I have to be at the school by 4pm tomorrow for rehearsal for the play.”

“The director’s email said 5pm.”

“Yes, but some of my friends were going to get there early to run some lines.”

“Sorry,” I say, “but we won’t be home from Jayden’s football game to get you there by 4pm.”

Isaac says nothing, but his whole body begins to tense. So I hop out of bed, give him a hug, and tell him, “Good night,” as I gently shove him out of the bedroom. Then I close the door.

“How’s that?” I ask Laurie.

“Perfect,” she says.

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