…my brain on a Monday 

  
“This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs… Any questions? “. You may recall this powerful Public Service Announcement funded by the Partnership for Drug-free Kids. It ran in 1987. This ad has always stayed with me… I’ve created many versions of this PSA in regards to my own brain…some are quite funny and some…well not so much. 
Today’s brain PSA….
AND…this is my brain …on Monday! 

Did you see that shirt I just had? Where’d my pants go? I just had them are you kidding me? Is that my phone? Can someone shut the alarm off?  Anyone? Hello? Ok…found pants…where’d my shirt go?

Never mind I will shut the alarm off… Thanks though! 

Coffee water is heated…start making it…

Recycling has to go to curb…why is it cold out?

Shirt? Do we have zip lock bags?

“What day is it? A or B? ” she inquires…

Huh? I have no idea…brain frantically searches…am I supposed to know this? Did I lose that memo? 

I ask…what do you mean? (Even though I have quickly figured out that she means that she wants me to open the app on my phone and find out for her)

Ok… Where are my shoes? Where are your shoes? What the hell is my name? Oh yeah phone… Where’d I put it? 

Umm…”I don’t even know where my phone is” of course I find it…and I look up what day it is…I don’t know if it’s A or B … But you have English 

Did I make my coffee? Have to bring the compost buckets out.  Was that the microwave?  Wait a minute… Where’s my phone?  Is that the recycling truck I hear? 

Should I start the car? Zip locks? What am I going to pack lunches in? There’s my shirt! Is the water hot enough to make my coffee? Yay! A new box of zip locks! Excellent! Two lunches to pack… Coffee? Did I start the car yet? 

“I can’t find my fleece!” Hmmmm. My brain scans to visualize where I last saw that fleece… Maybe the stairs? Must pack those lunches… Oh the water is hot again…start the coffee… Fleece?  Did I forget to buy creamer? 

“I can’t find my iPad”…. Couch? Kitchen? Fleece? Near the backpack? Wait a minute! The fleece is right here…  The fleece was found and the search party wasn’t called off.  Not a surprise! 

Lunches!!!! Finish making coffee. iPad? Where did you use it last ? Searching….searching… Is it in Dad’s office with your bass? No! Ugh! Ok…lunches done…is this my coffee? Can someone see if the car is started? 

“The cat? Mom we don’t have a cat! ”  sigh… 

Why????

 (Insert expletive here) … What? “My iPad was underneath my backpack the whole time! Can we go? Mom I’m going to be late”

Really? REALLY?? REALLY???!!!!!

Sigh… This is 15 minutes of my Monday morning… Today’s coping strategy? 

  
This has been a public service announcement from my brain on a Monday…

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blackout

blackout
WHY

must I feel

Everybody’s

E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G

as though

we are C_O_N_N_E_C_T_E_D

by circuitry

thousands of extension cords

jumbled chaos

intertwined

buzzing super highways with

only one exit

MY

BRAIN

I blink

I breathe

I gasp

I cry

and I wait

and I pray

for a

blackout
sudden darkness

still and

quiet

blown transformers from

overloaded circuits

halting the buzz

to a

whisper

I stretch and
try to catch my

breath

try to breathe

fully

in the shelter of

candlelight

craving oxygen to the

deepest

corners of my

lungs

resting in the
quiet

ears healing from the constancy

of the world that surrounds

me

gathering the
grace

and the

peace

and the

strength

I will need

until

the next

blackout

in the shadow…

In the shadow…anxiety lurks
Sadness waits… Curls it’s fingers around my ankles as I pass
Before I know it my chest seizes
I become frantic inside, tears sting my eyes still searching for that which has touched me
My body feels heavy, my mind struggles to be positive and hopeful
I know the mind is powerful… The battle ensues… I cannot do it on my own…cannot seem to escape fully the shadow… the shadow of depression that I long to be rescued from…the shadow that is all too real…

…anyone know what that frozen thing is on the front lawn?

I have to say that I cringe when the weather gets chilly enough to merit wearing socks…I have 3-4 pair that I only look for a few months out of the entire year. Usually I know where they are and can locate them on days I need them.   My children on the other hand, have more pairs than I can count and they can never seem to find them.  This goes beyond the sock monster…the dryer ate them…they are balled up under the couch.  Apparently my children have inherited my distaste for socks.  I personally do not like them because if my feet are hot then I am unhappy.  I have a sensory dislike for socks. I take them off the first chance I get!   I think my body thermostat is in my feet.  (and there goes my ADHD brain playing the soundtrack of all of the funny quips I have heard in my life about my feet that are not unusually large by the way but an 8.5 U.S. or 36 UK).  When I was younger I recall my maternal Grandfather suggesting I just wear the shoeboxes!  He was also the one who asked me if I paid full price for the bathing suit I had purchased as a teenager because “clearly they left off half of the material”! Shout out to you Papa from whom I know contributed greatly to the person I am today!
Now there’s the Kimberly we all know…Ritalin not quite kicked in and full throttle on the shiny thing quotient!

And in the words of Paul Harvey, who I remember vividly listening to as I grew up…and NOW…the rest of the story…

Socks!  Back to socks!  My husband is the only one who can find his socks in our house.  Reason being?  He wears them 365 days a year…that’s just who he is.  My three children and I on the other hand…not so much.  Only in the coldest of months and certainly not longer in the day than we have to.  So as the cold weather approaches and socks aren’t entirely an option, the race begins.  I actually get sock anxiety at night wondering if I will find  the six appropriate socks in the morning to usher the three off to school. We should have a routine for this…but we don’t.  You see, the girl likes hers to match…not necessarily in color but in height.  She usually waits until we are almost out the door to look.  My first born son on the other hand will do anything he can to go without and doesn’t much care what they look like.  My second born, beloved five year old on the other hand is quite particular about the height and fit of his socks.  “they feel udgy, squishy!” he says while making a face and shaking his legs…he doesn’t care if they match, they just have to fit.  That is until the other day when he wore a pair of Daddy’s socks to school.  I confess that I pointed out to the teacher that greeted us at school that he had chosen them all by himself…the heel of the socks midway to his knees and the top of them well over the knee.  The teacher giggled.  Daddy was honored.  I was proud of my son for tolerating such a wonky pair of socks!
Can you relate to the sock drama?
Needless to say, I am thrilled to have a long weekend and at least three days to forgo the sock anxiety…
Here is the lovely picture that inspired this post that I dedicate to my first born and most amazing son, Thando! Hey look!  It is one of his socks…frozen solid on the front lawn!
I would also like to add a tribute to Paul Harvey…his ability to speak in pictures…my ADHD brains dream.  I could listen to a broadcast of his without distraction, always anticipating a quip near the end of his broadcast, his familiar chuckle and lastly…

‘Good Day’! (click to see video)

…how do YOU learn?

What are multiple intelligences and what do they have to do with me?  What is bodily kinesthetic learning?  Let’s talk about children…there are a lot of children that struggle to know where they are in space and time…they crave deep pressure, long to feel grounded, connected both to their environment and to those around them. They learn well by experiencing with their senses…what does it sound like, feel like, look like?   As adults, we may become labeled as the close standers and even close talkers.  We develop not so well accepted mannerisms to accommodate our lack of kinesthetic and proprioceptive awareness and our needs as bodily kinesthetic learners.

I teach in a preschool that pays particular attention to the multiple intelligences as defined by Howard Gardner.  We assess our children along the Maine State Early Learning Guidelines as well, however, I am growing to really appreciate the power of identifying a child’s strengths as multiple intelligence learners.  This approach allows for a more comprehensive picture of the child.

As a bodily kinesthetic learner myself, I had to develop strategies to cope.  I did not always have the option to avoid lecture classes.  Some of my tried and true strategies…arm myself before going in!  I love to use, colored paper for note taking, have several highlighters in different colors, 1-2 drinks perhaps a water and a juice, pencils and pens and colored sticky notes, gum or hard candy.  When I become antsy in class, I am able to engage my senses myself.  I can switch up colors of paper or highlighters, I can organize extra thoughts on the sticky notes, I can reset from sensory overload with a drink or piece of gum or hard candy.  Usually I can manage this with minimal distraction to others.  This was not always the case…it took me until my second year of graduate school to get the message.  Once I recognized and honored my learning style, I struggled less as a learner…

As an early childhood educator, it is important to help children, their families and their future educators to know how best they learn.  Equipping the families and the children with what strategies work best for them only strengthens the possibilities for their success.  Empowering children to key into what their mind and body is telling them is a good start.  Knowing who we are and how we learn best is an asset. The reality is, we will not always have teachers that will take the time to appreciate needed accommodations and adaptations for learning.  Let’s help children and families to be advocates…this is a proactive approach…yes?

I will continue to share my thoughts and experiences as I grow as a Mom, as an educator and as an adult with ADHD…thanks for reading!

I love you…STOP touching me!

Have you ever said it?  Is it a Mama thing?  An ADHD thing? All I know is that this is a common phrase in my handy repertoire of blurts.  I have not pinpointed a circumstance under which this occurs though believe me it happens.  I am sure that it must happen when I am in that luxurious place called overload and not realizing that destination has been reached.  Too much sound perhaps? Too much tactile input maybe?  What I do know is that there are generally two camps of reaction.  One of these is the nod and smile…usually from people that know me, love me or strangers that can totally relate.  The other is pure horror…usually from someone in public that probably is asking themselves if they should speed dial child services.  Believe me, by the time I get to this place there is often no turning back. Out comes the blurt…I love you…STOP touching me!  Sensory overload all right!  Wave the flag!

Pause, breathe, close my eyes and maybe plug my ears.  I am sure it would behoove me to make a plan to recognize the signs before I reach this point but due to my mind being so busy and engaged, there is just not room for this type of sensor.  Manage the blurt…minimize the fallout and try not to freak out while in the market or any other public place…then again, the horrified reaction sometimes makes me giggle and this often re-calibrates my sensory meter.  What? Inappropriate and insensitive reaction on my part…well, stay tuned as that is just entirely another blog titled…’It was REALLY funny…in my head’.

overload…

Look out!  She’s gonna blow!  Run for your lives!   It is a classic scene out of an edge of your seat draction (yes…I made that up) drama-action film.  The building is packed with c-4 and the clever main characters have just figured that out and are racing with every atom in their bodies, for the door.  Just as the building blows you are left wondering…did they make it out?  Look at that destruction…now that’s a glimpse into my brain.

My mind craves sensory input.  Play the radio and a movie at the same time…give me organized chaos and I thrive! I love high action, fast-paced days because I love the movement and the business.  My brain is in its’ happy place working with 3-5 year olds all day! What happens though when the very sensory input my brain craves puts me over an edge?  I have not quite figured out what it is that suddenly leaves me dangling from that precipice.  Perhaps if I could stop the world from spinning for a moment and breathe…shut all of my senses down and begin again.  Is it too much uncontrolled stimulus?
If I am at home when this happens then maybe I can shut down and then begin selectively engaging my senses once again.  What about in the market?  The other day I was strolling through the aisles of the store with my three littles and a fourth.  I only needed a handful of things and with no budget for more was a bit stressed at the incoming random requests for miscellany.  On top of repeatedly denying requests and exercising my veto power, my five year old followed closely behind me half stomping, half slap-slapping his sandals on the cool linoleum.  I thought I would lose my mind as I asked gently, even kindly, ‘please stop making that sound with your shoes papa…’  It turned to a plead until finally, in the last aisle it came out a bit different…’I’ve asked you a lot of times papa and if you continue to make that sound with your shoes I’m pretty sure I will lose my mind right here in the dairy section! Just saying…’  It felt better to say it and it even quieted the feet for half an aisle!  That was long enough for me to shift and shut it out when it started again.

What do you do when you are in public and your craving for sensory input suddenly leaves you in a state of near hysteria?  Cover your ears, shut your eyes tight and say ‘la-la-la-la-la’ really loud until it stops?  I haven’t quite figured out that piece of the puzzle yet.
Strategies? Anyone? Anyone?   …and the movie starts to play in my head…watch it here: