New! Kids Apps to Keep Your Child Happy, Entertained and Enriched so You Keep Your Sanity

Oh dear. You’re waiting in the doctor’s office with your kiddo and the doc is running late. Real late…

You’re stuck in the airport, waiting for your flight to depart. The plane is nowhere to be seen. It’s going to be a long wait. And you ran out of Cheerios.

The kids are fighting- again– in the car and nothing you say stops the bickering and kicking. You want to jump out, even at 50 mph.

Like you, I’ve experienced all of these scenarios, and more: situations where you’re with your hyperactive-impulsive-irritable-wild child and you can’t do a thing to keep her happy and calm.

That’s why I thought you’d find this product fascinating and helpful. It’s an application called iKids Play that kids play with on an iPhone or iTouch.

What is it? iKids Play are interactive books for kids ages 2-10, but even my much older kiddo loved playing with it. Each storybook has a variety of playable options. You can read along with the narrator; rub the screen to reveal hidden images; color without crayons…they can even record their own voice as they read each story. And there’s much more.

What I love about this app is that it’s not only fun, it’s educational as well, and appeals to your child’s need for sensory input and activity.

Read more about it HERE. Then download a book or two- or more- via the iKids Play Library tab.

Now you can relax the next time there’s a 30 minute wait at your favorite restaurant. You’ll be armed with activities to keep your child happy, calm and entertained.

iKids

http://www.ikidsplay.com

Twist ‘n Write Pencils and Pens

Many children (and adults) with ADHD have poor fine motor skills. That means, in my case at least, sewing, handwriting and other fine motor skills are quite a challenge.

For children, that often means struggling at school because handwriting is often very messy. So when I heard about the PenAgain Twist ‘n Write, I thought I’d share it with you.

The Twist ‘n Write’s primary focus is comfort, allowing your hand to relax and letting the weight of your hand hold the pen/pencil in place.

Check it out HERE

Ugh- We’re having THAT for Dinner Again?

Not all that many years ago, when my kids were still young and didn’t care much about hurting my feelings while expressing their (strong) opinions about my culinary attempts, I took their words to heart. Probably way too much, too.

I can’t say that I am or was a horrible cook; I simply hated every aspect of it. The decision making, shopping (two hours-all those distractions!), preparing, cleaning…only to hear a united “UGH” when the filled plates hit the table, brimming with meatloaf, chicken or oh…the other 5 things I had mastered over the years.

Cooking was and still is a horrific chore for me. As a woman with ADHD, the cooking machinery just doesn’t work too well, because it expects one’s executive functioning to be running as smoothly as silk. And I don’t know a single woman with ADHD that doesn’t have problems with executive functioning.

For many of us with ADHD, there’s simply too many steps involved in cooking and at some point, it often becomes ridiculously too difficult to manage.

I was thinking about the guilt involved in my giving up cooking on a regular basis and it struck me that the guilt hits me on several levels:

1. Women/moms are *supposed* to know how to get healthy meals on the table.
2. Many women I know seem to love cooking. So what’s wrong with me?
3. Many women are also pretty creative in the kitchen. I’m not one of them!

But even more so, the UGH words cut me deeper than they should have. And now I realize why: the words opened an old, vulnerable wound. It wasn’t “just” that they didn’t like what I’d prepared for dinner. It was a daily reminder that I was, in my mind, incapable of doing what most other women could do without blinking an eye. In other words, it wasn’t about feeling hurt that my food was not to their liking. It was a direct blow to my shortcomings as a woman; a mom.

What I’ve learned over the years is that I am not defined by how great- or not great- I am in the kitchen. When these feelings of inadequacy wash over me, I remind myself that my lack of certain skills does not define whether or not I’m a good mother or wife. I’m more than that. I’m also a writer, speaker, musician, artist, good friend to many, animal lover, advocate and more.

Can you re-define who YOU are by focusing on your strengths and uniqueness instead of your Mac and Cheese recipe?

Join me Tomorrow for “Parenting with Distractions” FREE Teleseminar

Hi all!

Please join me tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan 26) as I present a free teleseminar titled, “Parenting with Distractions” 9pm EST at www.addclasses.com .

Are you and your family overwhelmed with the daily chaos, from getting kids off to school, to managing piles and piles of messes?

How does a parent who struggles with disorganization, time management, procrastination, sensory overload and more, effectively parent a child (or two or three) who also is challenged with the same ADHD symptoms?

I will explain the difficulties families with ADHD face and offer practical tools and strategies for improving your day to day life, as a parent with ADHD raising children with ADHD.

I’ll also be answering questions from the audience!

This course will also be helpful to any parent raising a child with ADHD.

Register now at ADD Classes.

When Kids Can’t Sleep, YOU Can’t Sleep

Kids with ADHD often have trouble falling asleep. And mine is no different. She’s been on sleep meds for many years and though they sedate her, she fights the sensation and becomes even more hyperactive. At her last doctor’s visit, the psychiatrist suggested a trial of Intuniv, a new medication for ADHD. We’re on our second week and second dose increase, so I’ll let you know how things go.

How many of you have kids who just can’t seem to settle down at night? What tips can you offer?

PS Read more info on Intuniv from one of my favorite bloggers/writers, Dr. Charles Parker

And learn more about this new med from the manufacturer’s site HERE

The Organized Purse

Wow, how cool is this? It’s the first purse I’ve ever seen with all built-ins! Organize all your stuff in this fashionable Butler Bag purse. No more digging for stuff.

Check it out HERE

Embarrassing To-Do Lists

Face it. We all have items on our To-Do lists that should have been done days ago. Weeks ago. Or in my case, 1 ½ years ago.

Sitting right this very minute, on my kitchen counter, is a plaque which reads, “My Beloved Pet.” That plaque doesn’t belong in the kitchen; it belongs in my backyard where our beloved dog, Annie, was buried a year ago in June, after struggling for months with a horrific heart tumor.

Every day when I come down into the kitchen, the plaque shoots me two reminders:

1. How much I miss my beloved pet and
2. How my ADD impacts me on a daily basis.

With the New Year, I made a list of resolutions. There’re here…somewhere in my blog. I need to add one more to it: to place the plaque in the backyard where it belongs as soon as the weather breaks.

What’s on your To-Do list that you’ve been staring at for weeks or months? What is your plan for tackling it?

Taming the Hurricane of Inertia

Shell Shocked by the Holidays?

I am.

The back to back festivities, filled with food, family and long weekends, have thrown me for a loop. While my kids were out of school, we talked about movies, getaways, gatherings and all sorts of things. In between and following the holidays, I had two weeks of fairly unstructured time, too, where I had planned on organizing my workspace (a true work in progress), getting back into my art studio, and enjoying the free time with various other activities.

I don’t know about you, but all this free time pushed me into a hurricane of inertia. That’s the best way I can describe it! My mind was planning dozens of things, but my body buckled and said no.

Those of us with ADHD often find that unstructured time can be a disaster. Our brain ping pongs off the walls of the mental pin ball machine, hitting all the bright lights, but scattering in and out of tunnels and landing in the big black abyss.

Then there’s the holiday season overload that precedes this. It’s like going from the Mardi Gras to a Zen sitting.

Are you feeling out of sorts- lost and unmotivated? What are you doing to kick start back into your routine?

What about “Last” Year’s Resolutions??

Last year, just at this time, I wrote an article listing my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions. It was the first year I’d ever made such a list because I’d always felt it was a silly thing to do. Especially for people like me who tend to forget such lofty goals within a week or two. Funny how ADHD can express itself, eh?

Here’s what I listed in my article last year:

1. Expand my social life by re-connecting with old friends and working on making new ones.
2. Return to my artwork and music
3. Work on my cooking phobia and return to the kitchen
4. Remember to take my ADD medications on a more regular basis and consult with my doctor about making possible changes
5. Tackle one SMALL de-cluttering project per week
6. Not come down hard on myself if I do not accomplish #5
7. Make an appointment with a financial planner
8. Spend more time with my elderly mother
9. Schedule overdue doctor/dental appointments
10. Be more patient and listen more intently to the people I love

Let me start off right now by saying…I did NOT accomplish many of the items on that list. But then again, I *did* check off some of them.

Now…I can choose to feel bad about the things I never got to. Or I can choose to feel good about the things I did accomplish. And…I can modify the list above to make it more doable for the coming year.

For example…

I did connect with a friend who, like me, is an amateur musician. We’d planned on getting together every Thursday night to “jam”, but life got in the way and we stopped. So instead of setting weekly goals in stone, only to cancel over and over until we stop altogether, I’ll see if we can commit to meeting once a month.
As for the financial planner meeting, well…that didn’t happen, either. But looking at this list a year later, I am again motivated to make that phone call.

What about you? What would YOU like to work on this year? Did you have a list last year that you’d like to modify? Feel free to post your resolutions in my Forums.

Happy New Year!

Don’t Worry: Last Minute Gifts are Here!

So we’re counting down the final days. Three days till Christmas and all is well.
Or is it?

If you’re still fretting over last minute gifts, I have good news for you. You can still get something special delivered for the holidays. No sweat, I promise!

Check out these *very* last minute items that will get there in time. Today, tomorrow, Thursday and even in some cases, Christmas day: Last Minute Gifts

The Things We Carry: Artists Confront Compulsive Hoarding

Since we’re all super busy with the holidays and everything you read about IS about the holidays, I thought I’d pass on this interesting article about an artist who had a fascinating show in NYC documenting all the things that were contents in his mother’s house. She was a compulsive hoarder and this show gives one an idea of just how serious this problem is.

The Things We Carry: Artists Confront Compulsive Hoarding

Kinda makes my clutter problems look like a piece of cake…

I’m in Love

…with this!

No jewelry or cookware for this gal! My husband got this extremely cool NeatDesk Desktop Scanner and Digital Filing System as my holiday gift this year and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, instead of scrambling for my important papers, I’ll scan them and file them on my computer for easy access. It scans business cards, receipts and documents. And it’s incredibly easy to use.

Sigh. I’m in love…

Join me Today at 1:00 pm (EST) for CHADD’s Monthly Ask the Expert Online Chat: Surviving the Holidays

Hi all,

Stop what you’re doing right now and come join me at 1pm EST today (Dec. 16) at the CHADD’s monthly Ask the Expert online chat. I’ll be taking your questions on the topic of How to Get Through the Holidays When You or/and Your Family Have ADHD.

To join the chat, please click HERE at 12:45 pm (EST) and follow the instructions on that page. This is an online chat only and no pre-registration is required! Just bring your questions!

See you soon!

What NOT To Do If You Have ADHD

In my last post, I talked about what NOT to do to prepare for the holidays if you have ADHD. One of my readers responded that it was refreshing to read a list of what NOT to do instead of what TO do, because she, as most of us, are overwhelmed with all the things we need to do but find hard to accomplish. That ADHD just keeps getting in the way.

So to expand on the idea of what NOT to do, in general, here is my list.

What NOT To Do If You Have ADHD

1. Do not compare your house, your family or yourself with anyone else. Of course, that’s something everyone should follow. But for those of us with ADHD, it’s too easy to feel our shortcomings by comparing ourselves with others.

2. Do not feel badly about “messing up.” Accept that our lives will be more challenging in general. Those without ADHD typically aren’t on high alert, worrying about getting to places on time, remembering names, meal preparation, having challenging children, etc. Give yourselves a break and relax a bit.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

4. Do not get stuck in a bad job, marriage, toxic friendship, etc.

5. Do not blame your ADHD for all of your personal shortcomings. ADD is an explanation; not an excuse.

6. Do not stick with your current meds, therapist or doctors if they aren’t helping you. It can take quite a long time to find the right med/combo. Don’t give up!

7. Do not let your children wear white.

8. Do not forget about your own needs. You work so hard, harder than most, to get through a normal day. Allow plenty of down time, trips away from the kids, and whatever else it takes to replenish and renew.

9. Do not try to be someone without ADHD. You will battle disorganization, time management challenges, clutter, and more. As Sari Solden wonderfully states, “embrace your ADHD.”

10. Do not shop at the mall the week of Christmas. You are asking to fry all of your senses. Instead, do your shopping online.

Ok, who can add to the list?

Terry’s Top 10 List of Survival Tips for the Holidays

<p><b>I am getting a ton of ADD related newsletters</b>, telling me how to survive the holidays. They all have great suggestions, too. Like starting a to-do list. Prioritizing. Remembering the real reason behind the holidays. Delegating chores. Hiring someone to clean the house. Etc etc.<br />
<br />
<b>But I’m tired of reading the same ol’ same ol’.</b> So today, I’m sharing my list of what NOT to do to prepare for the holidays if you have ADHD:<br />
<br />
<b>10. Don’t buy a single can of pumpkin filling,</b> olives or bread crumbs until you check your pantry to see if there’s one, two or even 10 cans lurking behind the cereal. Trust me, you probably have some hiding in the back, somewhere.<br />
<br />
<b>9. Do not wear white.</b> Whoever came up with the term “winter white” should be shot. Everyone knows that if you wear white during the holidays, you WILL get cranberry sauce, ketchup and wine on it. No brainer. Even more important, do not let your kids wear anything other than blue or black between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.<br />
<br />
<b>8. Do not put up holiday lights</b>; more than likely, they’re already still up from last year. I can spot an ADD household a mile away. They simply unplug the lights and forget (?) to put them away. Go ahead, plug yours in. Great- you’re all set. End of story.<br />
<br />
<b>7. Do not wait till the day before Christmas</b> or Chanukah to buy gifts. Stop what you’re doing right this minute and order your gifts online- all of them. As a matter of fact, check your email; today I sent out a newsletter with all the presents you’ll need- they’re all hand-picked, just for you. This alone will save you 15 hours of work. Now you can do all of your holiday shopping in 20 minutes. Really! You don’t get my newsletter? Sign up today on my homepage!<br />
<br />
<b>6. Do not have the traditional dinner.</b> Are those sweat stains I see on your blouse? Let me help relieve your anxieties about your traditional holiday dinner: Who says you have to have a huge nerve wracking gathering at your home? Choose between A and B:<br />
<br />
<b>A. Have only the immediate family over.</b> That way you can get away with store bought chicken and sides or even carryout. Yes, I am letting you off the hook. Blame me, I can take it. Still feeling badly? Invite the gang AFTER dinner, for dessert.<br />
<br />
<b>B. Make reservations for dinner OUT.</b> Huh? You’re feeling guilty? Why do you always let other people’s feelings be more important than yours? Go for it.<br />
<br />
<b>5. If you DO decide to host the dinner,</b> do NOT invite Aunt Sadie and Uncle Jack. You know they don’t tolerate your hyperactive kids, unruly dog, cluttered house and chaos. Instead, invite friends and relatives who celebrate your unique family and home.<br />
<br />
<b>4. Do not stress over a messy house.</b> I realize not everyone can afford a cleaning crew to help you get your house in tip top shape for guests. If you’ve read my “<a href=”http://momswithadd.ning.com/page/books-ebooks-1″ target=”_blank”>Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD</a>”, you’ll note a few great tips on how to de-clutter your house in a hurry (among other things). Here’s one: Have each family member take 2 mega garbage bags. Assign rooms to each person and have them dump the clutter into the bags. Haul them out to the garage. After the holiday, bring them back in and put everything away. Ok, let’s be reasonable. That part will take a few weeks. It’s ok. Been there, done that. It’s not the end of the world. But I would suggest that you delegate one bag for important stuff that you need easy access to, like your bills, calendars, dog food, meds, etc. Place a sticky label on the ties with a note that says “Important” or “Need to File.”<br />
<br />
<b>3. Don’t even THINK about cleaning up the dinner dishes</b> till the next morning. Dump everything in the sink. Pour hot water and detergent on everything. By morning, everything will easily slide off. You’ll have a lot more energy to attack this chore, too.<br />
<br />
<b>2. Do not obsess over the fact</b> that you have 645 Holiday cards to send out, knowing it’ll be impossible to get them done in time. Here’s a great tip- Order your Xmas Cards <a href=”http://www.cardsremembered.com?a_aid=fa22ce24″ target=”_blank”>HERE</a> and let THEM send them out FOR you.<br />
<br />
<b>1. Do not force your ADHD kids to wait till dinnertime</b> for their meal. Again, rule breaking is in order here if you and your guests want a pleasant dinner. Allow the kids to eat when they are hungry. Nothing can break a holiday spirit faster than irritable kids.<br />
<br />
<b>There- you made it!</b> Now one last thing: write down what you did this year that worked and what didn’t. Write down your menu and anything else you think will help you get through this next year. But…don’t ask me where to put it. I need to digest my Thanksgiving turkey, first.</p>

The Worst Dinner I Ever Cooked

We all have busy days where we simply can’t get a meal on the table. And many of us, who have the time to cook, might still be stumped as to what to make. I fit in both categories.

Last night, we were rushing to get to my daughter’s dance recital. Of course, I hadn’t planned ahead of time and began rummaging through the pantry/fridge, looking for a quick meal idea. Mind you, this was at 5:30pm.

I stand here before you, with an open heart and in complete honesty, am about to disclose the absolute worst and unhealthiest dinner I have ever prepared in my life.

1. Sloppy Joe. Ok, if it was made from scratch (scratch meaning browning hamburger meat and adding a can of Manwich), it wouldn’t be so terrible at all, right? But I found a ready-made tub of Manwich, with the meat and everything else, ready to go. I heated the stuff up. And while I was doing that..

2. I grabbed some Texas garlic toast and threw those under the broiler. This was my older daughter’s idea and it was a nice change of pace from the typical hamburger buns (which shockingly, I happened to have).

3. I found 4 small containers of readymade Mac & Cheese. Zapped those in the microwave.

4. Then I realized that there were no veggies on the menu, nor did I have anything green in the house- not even salad! Mind you, I had gone grocery shopping earlier in the day and forgot to get vegetables. So…I grabbed a can of corn from the pantry and heated that up.

So that was our fine dining: pre-made Sloppy Joe on garlic toast, canned Mac & Cheese and canned corn.

Who can beat me? What’s the worst meal YOU ever prepared in a pinch?

When All Else Fails, Use a Stapler

Years ago when my daughter announced, to my horror, that she wanted to be a Brownie, I led her to her first meeting with reluctance. I was happy for HER that she wanted to be part of this wonderful organization, where she’d meet new friends, learn new skills and develop a better super-ego.

But I knew that it meant new activities for me that I hate doing: baking cookies and brownies and leading activities that involve other fine motor skills that I find difficult to do. And of course, it meant being in a room full of very noisy children every Thursday afternoon at 4pm.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the whole “earning badges” aspect of being a Brownie. Or to be more specific, having to sew those cloth demons onto my daughter’s vest every time she learned a new bird whistle or saved a tree from dying.

You see, I am horrible when it comes to managing many domestic responsibilities and that includes sewing. Even replacing buttons puts me into a tizzy and I typically ask my husband or kids to take that task on.

So when I was faced with a little brown vest needing badges sewn on, I came up with a brilliant solution.

I stapled them on.

Yes, I stand here before you, admitting that I STAPLED my daughter’s Brownie badges onto her little vest. Being the good Brownie she was, she earned a LOT of badges. But I was no longer avoiding the task; I’d just grab my hand stapler and go to town.

Until one day, she came home from a meeting gushing tears.

“Mom”, she said. “The staples are digging into my skin. I can’t even sit down- I’m scratched all over!”

I don’t know who I felt worse for– my daughter with her red blotched, scraped up skin..or me and my inability to even deal with a little Brownie vest.

Sadly, she ditched Brownies the following year. Maybe she was embarrassed to show her face at the meetings, worried about any comments she might get from the crooked patches covering her vest, carefully (ahem) sewn on by her mother.

Or maybe she got sick of the generic, tasteless cookies I baked…I mean…purchased.

Unlike most mothers who worry about their children fitting in, did she know it was ME who felt I couldn’t measure up to the other moms?

My ADHD Holiday Dinner Disaster

Those of you who have attended my ADHD presentations at CHADD, ADDA and elsewhere, might have already heard about my holiday dinner disaster story, and like I promised in an earlier post, I’m going to share it with you, here.

It happened a number of years after I’d been diagnosed with ADHD and I had already gotten to the point of working hard at accepting my ADHD and learning to make accommodations for it. Still, one never knows when the ADHD blooper can take you down…

In all my adult years as a married woman with children, I had never hosted a Passover dinner. For those of you not familiar with this Jewish holiday, let’s just say that it involves about 100 different dishes that have to be served in a fairly systematic way. Ok, so I’m exaggerating. Maybe 10 dishes…

Luckily, over the last 30 years or so, my mother-the-gourmet-cook gladly took this on, inviting anywhere from 12 to 20 people to her home and cooking everything from scratch. (The cooking gene in my family obviously skipped a generation).

Back to the story. About 8 years ago, I decided that I wanted to have Passover dinner at my home. Armed with all kinds of ADD friendly tips, I knew exactly what I would do to make this successful with the least amount of stress. So….I picked up the phone and invited my family and chuckled at the gasps on the other end of the line. Historically, my contribution had been the relish tray (how hard is it to slice tomatoes and pickles?). But like I said, I had a plan…

I called the local catering company that specializes in holiday meals. When the lady asked me what I wanted to order, I froze. How MUCH chicken do you order for 12 people? How many servings of gefilte fish do you buy? One per person? Two? Already, I felt my confidence begin to fade. Until the helpful lady on the line walked me through the entire order. Stuffing or baked potatoes? She helped me decide on everything, thank goodness.

I realized at that moment, that it was a slam dunk. All I had to do now was to get the house in order (and that is a TALL order for someone with ADHD). But I felt I could get that done, again using the tips I’ve shared over the years with my readers, clients, etc.

Basically, I focused on the few rooms in my home that people would be using. I crossed the entire upstairs off my list. I got the dishes in order, set the table, and just did the best I could without overly obsessing over the whole thing. That alone was a huge shift in my attitude about living with ADHD: letting go of internalized expectations (thank you to Sari Solden’s book, “Women with Attention Deficit Disorder” which I recommend everyone read at least once).

The big day arrived and I smirked to myself as I drove cross town to the restaurant. Finally, I could be a true “grown up” and have people over for a wonderful meal. It didn’t matter to me whether I cooked it or not!

I picked up boxes and boxes of food, realizing that this method of surviving the holiday probably cost me a mortgage payment, but to me, it was worth every penny.

As I drove home, I had the window down, exhilarated by the unusually warm spring day. As I passed house after house, I got smug, visualizing all the poor women slaving over hot stoves on such a warm day.

Once I arrived back home, I decided to do another once over to make sure the house was presentable (note the word presentable; not spotless/perfect). I tidied up a bit, checked the clock, then calculated what time I’d need to turn the oven on in order to warm up all the food. 5:30 5:30 5:30. You see, I use a mantra system when I need to remember such things.

5:30 came and thankfully I remembered to turn the stove on. I opened up the refrigerator door to pull out all the food but stopped dead in my tracks.

You see, there WAS no food in the fridge. My mind raced- who took all the food? Why would someone do that? Then in a second, it dawned on me:

I’d left a few hundred dollars worth of food in my car trunk and it had been sitting in a hot garage for 7 hours. People with ADHD might be risk takers, but I wasn’t about to earn the nickname “Typhoid Terry”. I tossed out all the food. But I started to panic- twelve hungry people were about to leave their homes to come for a hot, delicious holiday meal. And I had nothing to offer, unless you’d consider tuna and boiled peanuts Passover fare.

The solution came to me in a flash, luckily, and I quickly called all of my guests, announcing that we were going to have the first ever Passover smorgasbord. I asked everyone to grab whatever they happened to have in their fridge and just bring it by. I still fretted, though- what if everyone brought day old tuna casserole??

My trusty husband, Jerry, came to the rescue. He dashed out and picked up a ton of readymade chicken, just to be on the safe side.

Luckily, everyone had great things to bring (unlike me, they COOK every day).

So though we didn’t have the traditional holiday dishes, we enjoyed this very funny dinner and realized that after all, it’s not what you eat, but who you eat it with.

Terry Meets Michelle Obama

Having worked in the White House as a clerical assistant, I was managing phone calls, email and other tasks for staffers. There was to be a photo shoot after dinner and we were all instructed to attend. I recall sitting with other secretaries when, right in the middle of the dinner, the main phone rang. I heard someone yelling to my co-worker that we really needed to be answering the White House phone.

I didn’t get the phone; I was thinking how earlier that day, a woman with a whole slew of Portuguese Water Dog puppies had been walking around the grounds and how she allowed me to take one of the pups for a few days, reminding me that I had to ship him back home to her. Also admiring the pups was no other than Michelle Obama!

At any rate, the meal ended and we were about to pose for the photo shoot. I was sitting next to a group of women who’d been working at the White House forever. They were posing in such a way so that they could be sure to have their faces seen, all but pushing me out of the camera’s range. I asked if I was supposed to be sitting with my husband, who had a high position with the White House staff, and was told they’d be photographed separate from their wives.

Suddenly, Michelle Obama swept by and I introduced myself. She kindly reminded me that we’d met earlier when I was admiring the Portie pups. My cheeks burned in embarrassment, but she was forgiving of my lousy memory.

She began to tell me something interesting- her face was animated and her hands moved in unison with her words. But my co-workers’ chattering quickly distracted me and as is often the case when I’m in a room with multiple conversations going, my brain bailed…but this time…from the First Lady. The most important meeting of my life and I turned back to Ms. Obama only to see I’d missed every word that came out of her mouth.

So I ended up doing the “Terry Nod”- pretending I’d heard every word by nodding and smiling at her, while quietly kicking myself for having allowed my attention to drift. Again.

I woke up from this dream semi-agitated, realizing that even at four in the morning, my ADHD seems to follow me.

Uh Oh: Halloween + Sugar = Hyperactivity?

As a parent, you’ve probably heard that children who consume too much sugar will become hyperactive. Your mother has warned you to change your child’s diet. Your friends who do not have children with ADHD, suggest you’re a lousy mother for allowing your child to eat a cookie or two every day, let alone drink a bottle of soda on occasion. After all, aren’t you supposed to be eliminating any cause for his hyperactivity?

With Halloween coming, you’re probably struggling with what to do about the bags of candy already entering your home. What’s a good mother to do?

Well, let’s start by getting the facts straight. First off, *studies show that sugar does not cause hyperactivity. Sugar does not cause ADHD, either. In fact as a woman with ADHD myself, I find that sugar actually calms me down!

What we DO find is an association between social activities involving treats full of sugar and a change in a child’s behavior. What does that mean?

Think about it. When does your child typically consume large quantities of sugar?

– Birthday parties
– Halloween
– Other special occasions

And when do children with ADHD typically become more excitable? Well, read the list above.

So next time someone “helpfully” suggests that you remove all sugars from your child’s diet, remind them that there are no studies that prove that sugar causes hyperactivity. Refer to the references below if you really need some ammunition. And explain that you aren’t about to remove your child from social activities that involve sweets as part of the festivities. That is, unless your child happens to become so overstimulated that it’s best to limit activities that rev him or her up!

Now go enjoy Halloween with your child!

*REFERENCES:

Cormier E, Elder JH. Diet and child behavior problems: fact or fiction? Pediatr Nurs. 2007;33:138-143. Review.
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