Guest Blogs

My Shopping Buddy, the ADHD Extrovert

My daughter and I are polar opposites. She is an outgoing, effusive, forever animated, ADHD extrovert. I am a quiet introvert who keeps an even keel. Perhaps that is why we get along so famously, and why Jasmine’s company makes otherwise boring tasks so darn entertaining.

As a card-carrying introvert, I rarely choose to interact with people. Plus I work from home, so on a slow day I might go 8 hours without speaking. I say goodbye to the kids when I drop them off at school in the morning, and then when I pick them up that afternoon and say hello my throat is dry and hoarse from lack of use.

Yet, for some reason, I love hanging with my ADHD extrovert Jasmine. Maybe because, in any conversation, she has no problem doing all the heavy lifting. While her siblings might get frustrated with her chattering and interruptions, I just occasionally throw in “Oh, really?” or “Then what happened?” and she goes on for several minutes.

Our current grocery shopping routine starts every weekend when I announce to the kids, “I’m going to the store. Does anybody want to come?” Through experience, I know to expect three “Nos” and one enthusiastic “Me! Me! Me!” Jasmine runs to her bedroom, frantically peels off her pajamas and throws on whatever she can find, and rushes to the front door where she jumps up and down and says, “Daddy! I’m ready!”

During the entire car ride there, Jasmine is buzzing with excitement. “Daddy! Are we doing a big shopping or just a little bit? I’m gonna be so helpful. Ooh there’s a bank. Do you need to go there so I can get a lollipop?” So by the time we get to the grocery store, she’s thoroughly warmed up her vocal cords and is able to take in everything. Which she does. Every single thing she sees, she asks about or tells me a story about.

This past trip she spent about a half hour talking about hot dogs. “Can we get hot dogs?”

“Sure,” I say.

“Yay! Are you going to grill them?”

[Symptom Test: ADHD in Children]

“Yeah, I can do that.”

“Oh boy!” she shouts. “I love when you grill things. Remember that one time you grilled the hot dog buns?”

“You remember that?” I ask. “That was a while ago.”

“Yeah. My favorite thing you grill is ribs, though.”

“That’s not the grill, baby. That’s the smoker.”

“Really?” she thinks for a second. “Oh yeah! That’s my favorite. Remember that one time you made the ribs and you sprayed them with apple juice?”

“That was over a year ago!” I said. “You remember that, too?”

“Yeah! You said it’s so they won’t dry out.” I literally slap my forehead and laugh out loud. The things she remembers…

“Can we get ribs this time?” she asks.

“Nah, too expensive this time.”

She hangs her head and softly says, “OK.” There’s almost five seconds of silence, before she perks up and continues. “Daddy! You have to remember the ketchup and mustard for the hot dogs.”

“We have those at home.”

“No, we’re almost out,” she says.

I am almost sure we have plenty of ketchup and mustard, but if she remembered grilling the buns and the apple juice spray then I trust her memory on the condiments.

The rest of the grocery store trip, she buzzes about all the things she remembers me grilling. The same is true in the car ride home. By the time we get home, she’s all kinds of tuned up. She runs through the front door shouting at her siblings, “Daddy’s grilling hot dogs for dinner!”

Her siblings are still sitting on the couch in the same positions as when we left, but they’re busy and don’t appreciate her interruptions. So they ignore her, and an hour later they ask me what I’m making for dinner. Jasmine might be two rooms away, but always seems to hear because she shouts, “Daddy’s grilling hot dogs!”

They get annoyed, and shout back, “We weren’t asking you.” But I love that she’s so into it. Especially when she runs into the room and shouts, “And guess what?! Daddy said he’s gonna grill the buns, too!”

[Self-Test: Could Your Child Have a Working Memory Deficit?]