Saturday, July 26, 2008


Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder (AOADD). The condition by which, as an adult, you can not complete even the most simple of tasks due to a sudden change in thought, resulting in the abrupt discontinuation of one task in order to pursue another. In other words, "Hey look, it's something shiny," and that's all she wrote.

My ability to focus is something I have always considered a strength-- until recently. Over the past couple of years, parenthood has taken its toll. First, I am considerably sleep deprived. Secondly, there's only so much brain power that can be harvested from cold macaroni-n-cheese and partial chicken nugget pieces. Thirdly... oh, wait, what was I saying?...

As you can see, whatever kind of single-mindedness I had before has long gone out the window. I have a tendency to (more often than is comfortable) walk into a room and completely forget why I'm there. I stand several minutes trying to grasp at straws of thought, hoping it will come back. Usually I end up having to go back to where ever I was, re-think the mental conversation, figure out my task, and start again. It's very frustrating, not to mention very poor use of time!

I find myself repeating tasks like a mantra until I complete them, just to remember what I'm finishing: "Get stamps, get stamps, get stamps, get stamps..." I repeat over and over until I have stamps in my hand and am heading towards the envelopes, at which time I change my mantra to: "Stamp on envelope, stamp on envelope, stamp on envelope..."

I know other parents have this affliction. It is usually coupled with a hearing problem known as "Parent's Ear." This is a double-edged condition, that causes symptoms considered to be both positive and negative. The positive features include the ability to discern your child's voice above, in and around any other child, animal or noise, and be able to tell if their tone is angry, happy, scared or in danger from a mile away. The (somewhat) negative feature is that you are able to completely tune out your child, while they pull on your sleeve and say, "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy..." at the top of their sweet little lungs. (The negative to this is that, in public, it is rude to allow a child to go on and on as such, but "Parent Ear" disallows the parent the ability to hear and correct the child.)

It's sad to get older and go looking for your keys, only to wind up two hours later having cleaned out your closet, rearranged a photo album, started cleaning a bathroom and canning some peaches, finally to think, "Now, what was I doing?" And yet, it happens with more regularity than I care to admit.

My poor children have been victims more than once to this. "Mommy can I have some milk, please?" might as well be spoken to the wind. I do acknowledge them and even get up to go get the milk. But, on the way, I have to throw away a stray napkin, answer the phone (always a problem for any type of consistency in a task) and look through the mail. Suddenly, 10 minutes later, my child is sighing heavily and rolling their eyes: "Moooom... milk???" "Oops, sorry, honey. I'll get it right now..."

I don't know of any kind of cure for this affliction. I can only assume that when I finally can't use my children as an excuse anymore, I'll be much older and able to finally just fess up to being senile. But for now, I need to go finish brushing my teeth (I only brushed one side) and tell the kids goodnight (even though suspect they are already asleep).

Then I have to go to bed myself to try to catch up on at least enough sleep to pretent to be conscious tomorrow. But, I'll probably end up brushing my kids, bringing my toothbrush to bed and telling my teeth goodnight... If I can remember that much for that long...
Oh, look, something shiny!!!...

1 comment:

ThePrincessMommy said...

I had something really witty to write here, but I forgot what it was!