The first day of school has the potential to drown an entire ADHD household.
Aside from the obvious “extra details” that could be rather overwhelming to juggle, it involves a change of routine, for not just one household member, but for the entire household. Routine is challenging for the ADHDer and changes in routine are even more challenging. Multiply that difficulty times the number of ADHD diagnosed persons in the house (in our case that’s three), add in the curve balls of another household member who isn’t diagnosed but is a likely candidate for the distinction, plus the unwitting participating of the one non-ADHDer in the house…then watch with a scorecard as the whole crew lurches forward toward that dramatic first day of the school year.
There were summer homework assignments to finish…then there were summer homework assignments misplaced…meltdowns had…summer homework assignments rediscovered, like the face of God to a dying man…clothing to be sorted and selected for the first day…lunches to be made…and somehow, in the middle of it all, dishes everywhere. I washed through the entire household set of silverware twice in less than 24 hours. This never happens, it was some kind of first-day-of-school-magic brand of excessive silverware use. The laundry, which we hang up on a rack, refused to wick dry in the late summer humidity.
The first day of school is more than a day, it’s a process, for the ADHD household, a series of anxieties, attempts, failures, and the success of newly sharpened pencils.
In the middle of this anxiety donut, the cats intuited that this would be an ideal time to add their own flash to the mixture – one of them had a four room puking and crapping spree, so offensively odorous that we have dubbed it “Puke Chernobyl” because as my husband, Sonny, uttered between gags “you know how when something radioactive blows up and then it just lingers…and won’t go away? This smell is radioactive….”
Sonny is a teacher at the school that the children attend. This fact is wonderful, because it’s a great school, but logistically it’s the root of many of our household scheduling crises. Even on days when he and the children need to be there at the same time, they don’t always need to be there at the same time…the first day of school is one of those times. So I started my mental planning the night before, checking and re-checking with my husband “What time do we need to leave the house? What time do we need to be there?” since it’s not part of my normal routine to be dropping off the kids (though admittedly it’s one of the kid-related tasks that I LOVE, bringing them to school).
So let’s see: I washed like 102 loads of laundry, we somehow went through every dish in the house, twice, I packed lunches (another task I enjoy), the summer projects were finished, packed the husband a lunch too, brought kids to school…but even though it’s done, we will have a not-necessarily unpleasant hangover from the “first day” for a couple of weeks as we all continue to adjust to the new routine, catch up on everything else we couldn’t do in the past few days, and holy mother, fold all that laundry. It’s not unpleasant because…it’s just how life is. We can be frustrated or we can just chug forward. Frankly, I don’t have the energy to be pissy about it, I just barely have enough energy to climb the stairs and go to bed.